Sunday’s in Bed With…The Friend Zone

So Sundays In Bed With… is a meme hosted by Midnight Book Girl. It’s an opportunity to share what book is by your bed (or by your current resting space) at the moment.

Well hello, hoppy people! I hope your Easter/Passover/Ramadan is going well! My life has been pure chaos lately, between work, construction on a house project, and a family visit, I haven’t had much time to relax. So I took this weekend off.

Not of work though, I still did that.

Today the hubs and I went and saw the Mario Movie, and it was okay. Loved Bowser. We also played Point Salad, a card/board game and that was fun. I might have backed its sequel, Point City, on Kickstarter today as a result. Maybe.

But let us get into the book I’m currently reading, as I am only a few chapters into it. The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez.

I follow the author on TikTok and I must say, she is quite funny. Her dogs are great. Did I own this a year ago? Yes. Did TikTok influence me. Also yes. So did my friend. I hope I end up liking her. I might have purchased all her books used or off book outlet.

I have a problem.

The synopsis is as follows:

Kristen Peterson doesn’t do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don’t get her. She’s also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.

Planning her best friend’s wedding is bittersweet for Kristen — especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He’s funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he’d be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it’s harder and harder to keep him at arm’s length.

Have a egg-cellent day!

International Women’s Day Fiction Recommendations!

Happy International Women’s Day! Normally on this day you’ll find people sharing their favorite non-fiction recommendations of amazing, superb, real life women who have changed the world (you can find those wherever books are recommended). In my case, I thought I would share some kick ass fictional women instead.

The Brown Sisters From The Brown Sisters Trilogy by Talia Hibbert

In this series Talia Hibbert wrote an amazing cast of women. We have plus sized rep, disability rep, queer rep, autistic rep, and mental health rep. She crammed all of that into those three rom-coms. These are strong women and I loved getting to peek into their world. In fact, I recently did a re-read. So good.

Alice in This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub

I’m not a big Lit-Fic girl, but this one was great. Alice is just your average 39 year old when she wakes up on the morning of her 40th birthday in her 16 year old body. The books asks the question, if you could alter the past to change your future, would you? And Alice actually does! It’s interesting to see things she does to change the world she lives in and her ultimate choice in the end. It was a really touching book. This book does deal with an ailing parent, so be cautious.

Reyna and Kianthe from Can’t Spell Treason Without Tea by Rebecca Thorne

Can we talk about the women in this cozy fantasy for a minute? They both want to escape the life that has been chosen for them, so they do, and they open a bookshop/tea shop! Talk about taking ownership of your own destiny. They deal with politicians, brigands, a crazy queen, dragons, and a magical destiny, but they still hold true to what they are trying to accomplish and each other. Also the sequel just came out and I am loving it!

Zinnia from the Fractured Fables Series by Alix E. Harrow

Zinnia Gray is going to die before her 21 birthday. Its a guarantee. So when a mysterious spinning wheel whisks her off to the land of a sleeping beauty (her favorite fairy tale) she jumps at the chance to change someone else’s destiny, even if she can’t change her own. I love Zinnia. She’s shouting to anyone who will listen that she will not go gentle and it’s a great short read.

Amalia and Zaria from The Swords and Fire series by Melissa Caruso

These women are complex. Both have destinies, one is trying desperately to escape hers, and the other is quietly resigned to hers. Both of their lives are changed in an instant that has the potential to alter the kingdom they live in forever. Their journey together is wonderful to read.

Addie from The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue

Imagine being so desperate to escape an arranged marriage that you make a deal with an old god and it backfires on you so that no one remembers you. Addie learned to move and adapt in a world that always forgot her until one day someone didn’t and it shook her. She adapted again. It was an interesting story and Addie was so intriguing to read about. This book was so good. And that ending! Ugh! So good.

The Vignes Women from The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett

The women in this book are stunningly written. Each is very different. It starts with a set of twins who can pass for white in the segregated deep south then it moves on to their daughters who is each raised very differently. These women are so interesting that I could not put this book down. I loved it!

So go and celebrate the strong women in your life, or read about some! Happy International Women’s Day!

January Reading Wrap-Up

Let’s just all admit that my posting schedule is going to be sporadic and insane, because reasons. But hey, more time for reading, right?

Speaking of reading, how about going over what I read in January?

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam was a book club read and I did not enjoy it. It has such an interesting premise: A family goes on vacation to the middle of nowhere long island when a few days into it a couple claiming to be the owners of the house they rented show up in the middle of the night claiming something terrible has happened on the east coast. It was one of those things where I didn’t enjoy the writing, the ending, or the characters. This book was not for me. But it clearly has an audience because it is being made into a Netflix movie set to air later this year.

The Measure by Nikki Erlick on the other hand was amazing. I have been spouting this story’s virtues to anyone who would listen, including my mother and she doesn’t even read! Everyone in the world over the age of 22, and then once they hit 22, gets a mysterious box that has a string in it. This string represents the measure of your life. It begs the question, how would society act with this newfound information? It was amazing. Didn’t I say that already? I highly recommend it.

Loathe to Love You by Ali Hazelwood was a fun compilation of novellas set in the Steminist series. Each one has a different plot, however, I have noticed that Ali Hazelwood tends to write different versions of the same romance trope: enemies to lovers. I know it’s a common trope and that lots of romance authors use it, but seems that is all she does. It’s a little disheartening. Not gonna stop me from buying the next book though.

Can’t Spell Treason Without Tea by Rebecca Thorne is the cozy, sapphic, fantasy read I needed while I was on a plane ride. It was a great story about a queen’s guard who runs away to be with her mage lover and opens a tea/book shop in a small town. It is available on KU if you are curious and I do recommend it.

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nigh Vo is the second story in the Singing Hills Cycle. They are short series of novellas about a non-binary traveling monk who roams around collecting stories. I really enjoy this series and have already bought the third one!

Once Upon A December by Amy E. Reichert was an adorable holiday rom-com about a mystical traveling Christmas market. It was okay? I started reading it when I was on my holiday trip with family and didn’t finish it until the end of January…because I forgot I was reading it. Sigh. Not a rousing endorsement, I know.

Pilu of the Woods by Mui K. Nguyen is a cute, middle-grade graphic novel that has to do with facing those not-so-nice feelings we all get. Oh, and magical tree spirits. It was adorable and fluffy and made me smile.

Taproot by Keezy Young is a heartwarming middle-grade graphic novel about a gardener who sees ghosts. This also made me smile.

Princess Princess Ever After by K O’Neill is yet another middle-grade graphic novel. I have got to spend less time on cozy fantasy TikTok. That’s where I found all three of these. I really enjoy K O’Neill’s work and think it’s quite sweet. A good time had by all…er me!

The Sandman Vol One: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman and various artists was something I had been meaning to get to for a while but had never managed to quite make it to. I’m glad I finally hunkered down and read it, it’s so good! The art is stunning and the story is fantastic. And no, I haven’t watched the Netflix series, I do have the audiobooks though.

The best book I read this month was The Measure, hands down. It was spectacular and I think everyone should read it.

Ya’ll, I meant to post this on Saturday! I forgot to schedule the post! I am so, so very special. I’m gonna go have a cup of tea now.

New Year, New Goals!

Happy New Year!

Did everyone have a nice, relaxing New Year? We acquired this monster of a board game called Gloomhaven and played that a couple of times on New Year’s Day while watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy (extended edition of course).

The New Year brings with it new goals and looking back on the old goals.

So let’s start with last year’s goals!

Read More Non-Fiction: Um, I failed at this. I only read one non-fiction book last year, and that was for D&D! I don’t count that.

Buy Fewer Books: I also failed at this. In fact, I bought more books in 2022 than I did in 2021. Sigh.

Read my TBR Shelf: Yeah, I added so many books to my TBR shelf that it turned into a TBR bookcase.

Write More Reviews: I actually did this, until my life got so crazy (new job, reading slump, stress, blah blah blah) that I wasn’t able to keep up with it.

So what are my goals for this year! Unsurprisingly, there is more of the same, sort of.

Buy Fewer Books: I’ve actually started two spreadsheets to help with this. One is for new releases that I definitely want to buy this year. The other one is for impulse buys that I would normally pick up while at the store, on other errands, or out with friends. If I still want them after a few months, I will consider adding them to my Amazon cart. And if I still want them a few months after that, then I will buy them. That’s a lot of work, but hopefully, I’ll keep it up and will be able to buy fewer books this year.

Read my TBR Shelf: I’m making a spreadsheet for this one too. It’s going to contain all the books that are on the TBR bookcase, the Book of the Month shelf, and my YA cart prior to any purchases made this year. Once I read a book, I’ll take it off the spreadsheet. I can also use this method to randomize my reading experience by using a random number generator whenever I can’t decide what to read.

Work on My Re-Read of the In Death Series: I got 36 books into the In Death series before I got burnt out because of the frantic pace I was reading them at. I have 20-something books left to go, so I’m hoping to finish by the end of the year this year. I am not going to force myself though. I don’t want to hit a mid-year burnout again. That slump was no fun.

I have high hopes for this year and am positive the extravagant steps I have taken to ensure those goals will pay off.

Sundays in Bed With…Half A Soul

So Sundays In Bed With… is a meme hosted by Midnight Book Girl. It’s an opportunity to share what book is by your bed (or by your current resting space) at the moment.

Well hello! How has it been a month? I apologize for my absence. I got distracted by shiny things…and the flu. Ten out of ten, do not recommend. But I have been reading! And I am currently reading, among other things, Half A Soul by Olivia Atwater.

This fantasy romance set in Regency London is highly enjoyable. I’m about halfway through it, well, this and three other books, and I am so happy with it! It’s my book club’s pick for the month and it is what is now being termed “Cozy Fantasy”, which is low stakes fantasy that makes you feel happy.

It’s about a woman who had half of her soul stolen by a Fae when she was a child and so she grows up not feeling emotions the same way other people do. This condition makes her more likely to cause an accidental scandal. Of course, this also leads her to meet London society’s most unlikeable man, the Lord Sorcier.

What book are you reading now?

WWW Wednesday: November 16th

Well, I don’t know about you but it’s been a fun week. I went on a girls’ weekend and had a fantastic time. Now I’m prepping for the upcoming holiday season by cleaning and decorating. I may have had to buy a new, smaller, Christmas tree because I put a bookshelf where my bigger Christmas tree used to go. Oops.

I know I haven’t done it in a while, but let’s do WWW Wednesday! WWW Wednesday is the day 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.

What are you currently reading?

A Merry Little Meet Cute by Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone got started as an audiobook while I was coming back from the girls’ weekend, but the male narrator didn’t do a particular accent very well, and it took me out of the story. I have the physical copy so I picked it up at home. This book is pure chaos and I’m not sure how I feel about it yet.

Upgrade by Blake Crouch is a book club pick and I just started it this morning. In fact, I got one chapter into it before I realized I needed to write a blog post so…does one chapter count?

What did you recently finish reading?

The Bodyguard by Katherine Center was not what I expected from a rom-com, but I liked it nonetheless. I listened to this as an audiobook on the way out of town and it was well performed. I had a fun time listening to it and would highly recommend it.

Isn’t It Bromantic by Lyssa Kay Adams is the fourth entry into the Bromance Book Club series. This one is about the Russian, as he is affectionately referred to by his friends. It’s the marriage of convenience trope, but they are already married at the start of the book. I loved it and would highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys romance novels.

What do you think you’ll read next?

The Unbound Empire by Melissa Caruso is what’s up next on my TBR and I am excited to start it. Of course, I also have two other books that I want to pick up, but I’m hoping to actually finish that TBR this month. This book is the third and final story in the Swords and Fire series and I loved the first two books.

So tell me, what are you reading now?

November TBR

Quick question. Is it too early to break out the Holiday graphics for the blog yet? I’m a major Christmas decorating person and will be decorating my house next week, hopefully, and I just wanted to know if you think it’s too early to decorate my blog too. Personal opinion, it’s never too early. But what do you think? Let me know.

But since it is still November I suppose I should just make a TBR while I have the chance. Not a big TBR mind you, but a nice one.

Upgrade by Blake Crouch

This is a book club pick for the month of November and I am super excited. Recursion is one of the best Sci-Fi books I had read in a while and I absolutely loved it. I have high hopes for this one, although the mixed reviews I have heard about it give me a little hesitancy.

Isn’t it Bromantic by Lyssa Kay Adams

The Bromance Book Club series has been one of the highlights of my romance reading journey thus far. This is the fourth entry in the series and I have already started it. I’m enjoying it very much.

The Unbound Empire by Melissa Caruso

The third and final book in the Swords and Fire trilogy, I have been meaning to get to this one for a while, and just haven’t hit it yet. For shame, but I do have a problem finishing series. I just don’t want the stories to end.

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

I have been looking forward to this one for a while now, and I am going to make myself read it before the third full-length story comes out next year. My friend just finished it and was very sad the book was over. She needs more now!

And that is my small TBR for the month. Let’s see if I actually stick to it instead of wandering off the path like I normally do!

October Reading Wrap Up

Welp, Halloween is over and all I’m left with is this pumpkin cheesecake. I take comfort in that. Well, also in the 12 books I read. Almost all of them anyway.

The Kiss Curse by Erin Sterling picks up where the Ex Hex left off, this time the focus is on Gwyn Jones and Wells Penhallow. It was a wonderful follow-up and I couldn’t have been happier to have been in the world of Graves Glen again. What a great sequel. If you like the Ex Hex, you will love this!

Not the Witch You Wed by April Asher is the first book at the start of a brand new supernatural romance series about werewolves and witches. This one had to do with supernatural politics in a way I wasn’t expecting. Don’t worry, it’s still a rom-com. It was a fun read and I really enjoyed it.

Well Played by Jen DeLuca is the second entry in a series of rom-coms centering around a renaissance festival. I am enamored with the world the author has created and may have already finished the third book. I am also thankful there is a fourth book in the series coming out in December.

From Bad to Cursed by Lana Harper is another sequel (I usually have a hard time reading sequels, what is going on?) that takes place in a town called Thistle Grove where the magic is held by four families. This time a fellow witch is attacked and members of two rival families must team up to solve the caper! I loved it! Thistle Grove sounds like a fantastic tourist spot!

If you want to read a cozy fantasy graphic novel, The Tea Dragon Society series by K. O’Neill is the way to go. This middle-grade story is adorable and I read all three in one go! It’s also available on Kindle Unlimited so you can enjoy it there. And how cute are those dragons?

Now meet the books I wasn’t too crazy about.

I know people are loving it, but I just didn’t like Fairy Tale by Stephen King. His writing style and I just don’t get along. I may try this one again later, as so many of the ladies in my book club enjoyed this one.

How I Stole the Princess’s White Knight and Turned Him to Villany by AJ Sherwood was a choice. The wizard is very eccentric and the knight is very quick to just go along with everything the wizard says. It’s also absurdist comedy, which may be why they do that, but it wasn’t for me. I say that, but I read the whole thing.

Three Swedish Mountain Men by Lily Gold was a book I read. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I like my romance stories to have a plot, but this one was barely there. If why choose stories are up your alley, give it a shot. But nope. Not again!

The Witches of Moonshyne Manor by Bianca Maris was a book I was really into until the third plot twist happened in the first half of the book. It was just a few too many plot twists for me.

The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean was just a wrong book wrong time kind of thing. I didn’t get very far into it, but I am determined to try again because the plot is about a family that eats books, and then here comes the kid who eats brains? Yes, I want to like that.

And that’s how my reading month went. How did yours go?

Sundays In Bed With…Legends & Lattes

So Sundays In Bed With… is a meme hosted by Midnight Book Girl. It’s an opportunity to share what book is by your bed (or by your current resting space) at the moment. I happened across this meme on Wicked Witch’s Blog. She’s almost done with her Blogtober posts so go give her a follow! She’s fantastic!

Also, I can’t believe we have made it to the end of October! What a crazy month it’s been. The weather has finally turned here and fall has actually arrived which means cooler temps, rainy days, and, unfortunately, headaches. The migraines have been making their presence felt this season. But, I have been able to walk to work a lot, which has been fabulous. The crisp fall air does wonders for my mental health and it also means I can listen to an audiobook for the short walk to work.

Speaking of audiobooks, my current listen is Legends and Lattes. I’ve been listening to this cozy fantasy everywhere I go, or don’t go. I’ve been listening to it while I prep for my next D&D session on the sofa. It seemed appropriate. I’m also thinking of switching to the paperback copy that I have, as I want to know what happens faster than the audiobook can get to it!!!

Here’s the blurb:

After a lifetime of bounties and bloodshed, Viv is hanging up her sword for the last time.

The battle-weary orc aims to start fresh, opening the first ever coffee shop in the city of Thune. But old and new rivals stand in the way of success ― not to mention the fact that no one has the faintest idea what coffee actually is.

If Viv wants to put the blade behind her and make her plans a reality, she won’t be able to go it alone.

But the true rewards of the uncharted path are the travelers you meet along the way. And whether drawn together by ancient magic, flaky pastry, or a freshly brewed cup, they may become partners, family, and something deeper than she ever could have dreamed.

As a side note if you decide to read/listen to this the way the author, Travis Baldree, describes the food in this book is positively sinful. It makes me want to go raid a bakery every time I hear him describe something.

It’s Finally Fall Book Tag

It’s fall, y’all! That means it’s time for apple cider, comfy sweaters, and cozy blankets…if you live somewhere that isn’t Texas. We still do pumpkin patches and hayrides though!!!

I saw this book tag on Book Are 42 (I love that blog name) and she was tagged by someone else, but I couldn’t track down the originator of the tag. If anyone has the info, please let me know!

In fall, the air is crisp and clear | Name a book with a vivid setting!

The Ex Hex/ The Kiss Curse by Erin Sterling

The world of Graves Glen is set in a whimsical small town full of colorful characters and I could not love this series more. Both books are excellent and the second story doesn’t suffer from the dreaded second book syndrome.

Nature is beautiful… but also dying | Name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief.

Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

This is a book about death. The story is about a man who dies and goes to “live” in a tea house in a small village with a reaper, a ferryman, and some ghosts, including a ghost dog!!! And yes, I cried, but in the best possible way.

Fall is back to school season | Share a non-fiction book that taught you something new.

The Player’s Handbook by Wizards of the Coast

So I know the prompt was probably looking for something a little less esoteric, but this, while about a fantasy world, is a non-fiction book as it is a technical manual for a role-playing game. And I learned a lot. It did take me two months to read it, because dense, but I still read it!!!

In order to keep warm, it’s good to spend time with the people we love | Name a fictional family/household/friend-group that you’d like to be a part of.

In Death Series by J.D. Robb

For all that they are surrounded by mayhem and murder, the bonds of family and friendship are incredibly strong within Eve and Roarke’s group. What makes it even more special is that while Roarke and Eve are bazillionaire’s, that’s not the reason the people in the group are friends with them, they like these two on their own merits. I’d like to be friends with these people.

The colorful leaves are piling up on the ground | Show us a pile of fall-colored spines!

Um…no? I just organized the shelf nearest to me a few days ago. I’m not messing that up…I’m picturing myself storming off like a petulant child who is being sent to their room. Baby Lauren would not be amused.

Fall is the perfect time for some storytelling by the fireside | Share a book wherein somebody is telling a story.

Fairy Tale by Stephen King

So I’m not recommending this book as I’m still not sure how I feel about it (I’m not done with it yet) but it is told to you by the main character.

The nights are getting darker | Share a dark, creepy read.

A Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

This book very much creeped me out when I read it a few years ago. Just thinking about that scene with the rats…eww. But, it was very well written and made me want to read more by the author, which is saying a lot, as I don’t usually enjoy horror stories.

The days are getting colder | Name a short, heartwarming read that could warm up somebody’s cold and rainy day.

Monk and Robot Series by Becky Chambers

I have heard this series referred to as hope punk, and I like it. I would also call it cozy sci-fi. It’s a series that isn’t afraid to ask tough questions, but it does so in a nice and gentle manner, you leave the stories not only questioning your life but wanting more in the series.

Fall returns every year | Name an old favorite that you’d like to return to soon.

The Last Dragonlord by Joanne Bertin

I loved the first two books set in this series, and am always up for a re-read. It’s the story of Liden, a dragonlord (a being who is also part dragon), and his journey through political intrigue and a murder mystery at a human court. It’s a fun read and I would have loved to see more in this world.

Fall is the perfect time for cozy reading nights | Share your favorite cozy reading accessories

A Cup of Tea

Does a cup of tea count? I can’t really read without one and during the cooler parts of the fall will go through several cups while I am reading. A particular fall favorite is by Harney and Sons, the Pumpkin Spice. It’s quite nice.

What a fun tag! I don’t ever tag anyone in these, because if you like a tag, you should give it a try! Let’s see what fun you can come up with!