February is over! Between the brutal cold (that Texas wasn’t set up to handle) and our power going out for a few days, I could do without a repeat. Although I did buy this from Build a Bear! Look at the little Dalek! I am such a nerd! Ain’t it great!
On to the wrap up!
January Book Haul: I started the month off like I usually do, with a book haul. Look at all the pretties I got!
Everything I read in January 2021: Um, yeah. It’s a list. A list of books. A list of books that I read in January!
Feburary 2021 New Releases That I Want: I appear to be pretty good at making my titles tell you exactly what’s in the post.
Book Un-Haul 2021: I selected a few books to remove from my shelves. More room for new books!!!
20 Questions Book Tag: I had a lot of fun doing this book tag. Go give it a read!
And that’s all I have for you from last month. February was a short month anyway, but add on a week lost to the winter storms and zeesh. Less posts.
Well hello there! How’re you doing today? Are you drinking enough tea? Inquiring minds want to know.
I was tagged by absolutely nobody to do this 20 questions tag that I found on the interwebs. I discovered it through Paperfury, but alas, I was unable to find the originator of this tag due to the dead end spiral I was sent upon. Bother.
I thought this tag sounded fun and a little bit different. So without further ado, on with the tag!
How many books are too many for a series? I’ll get back to you when I have discovered the answer to that, as I just finished reading book 52 in the In Death saga by JD Robb. I might have them all. Maybe.
How do you feel about cliffhangers? I am of a mixed mind about cliffhangers, actually. When done really well, I enjoy them. But when they are bad, just, no. Also, I always worry that the authors second or third book won’t be picked up by the publisher and then I’m left with no resolution. It’s problematic.
Hardcover or paperback? Yes. I happen to like both. I was obsessed with mass market paperbacks for years, but they fall apart easily if you read them too many times. And I love the floppy paperbacks they now offer. However a hardback offers longevity, something you don’t get with a paperback.
Favorite book? Pshaw. I have several.
I have never been able to choose my favorite book. And I’m sure this list will change as the years pass. I need to re-read a few of these. And I just reread A Discovery of Witches, but every time I bring it up, I want to read it again. Also, if it’s in a series, I love the whole series, not just the first book. Cause logic.
Least favorite book? I know it may seem mean to actually answer this, but The Road Not Taken but Susan Rubin is up there, and I never even finished it. Life is too short to read books you don’t like.
Love triangles, yes or no? For the most part no. I really don’t like that trope, and can count on one had the very few times I have liked it. Well, I think I mean only once. But for the most part, it’s a big no for me.
The most recent book you couldn’t finish?Outlawed by Anna North.
I really wanted to like this book. I think this was just a matter of right book wrong reader.
A book you are currently reading? Point B by Drew Magary
A story where teleportation is possible? Yup. I’m there.
The last book you recommended to someone? If we discount all the recs I make as a blogger, then both The Invisible Live of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab and A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. They are both very different books, but both speak to me. I just love recommending them.
Oldest book you’ve read by publication date? Um, I have no idea. I read The Odyssey for fun once. That’s the oldest one I can think of.
Newest book you’ve read by publication date? Faithless in Death by J.D. Robb
I know. I already mentioned this one. But it just came out! Pluss I love this series. I would have to to have read all 52 books in it.
Favorite author? Hmm. I guess I never thought of it. Deborah Harkness (I love her writing style, and her plots), J.D. Robb ( I’m sorry, but I simply adore Eve and Roarke), Melanie Rawn (I’m still anxiously awaiting book three of the Exiles trilogy, and I may never get it). That’s all I can think of for now. Of course, this list may change later.
Buying books or borrowing books? Um, both? I like borrowing books from libraries. Especially since you can do it through the Libby app on your phone now. But I also have an addiction to collecting books. I must own all the pretties!
A book you dislike that everyone seems to love? Dune by Frank Herbert. I just can’t connect with this book. Doesn’t stop me from continuedly trying to read it though.
Bookmarks or dogears? Either one is perfect acceptable. I prefer bookmarks, but if I don’t have one handy, dogeared pages do in a pinch.
A book you can always re-read? Um, see favorites list above, I can re-read that list of books anytime, anywhere. Also, anything in the Valdemar universe by Mercedes Lackey.
Can you read while listening to music? Yes, if by music you mean having the TV on in the background. I do that all the time. I used to read by music all the time. Not in the last few years though. Huh, I may have to try that again.
One POV or multiple? In this I have no preference. For multiple POV’s though, it has to be clearly stated who’s POV it is, or I get frustrated and DNF the book.
Do you read a book in one sitting or multiple days? I can do both, honestly. It depends on how the books is, what time I have free, and if my ADHD is acting up. Tic Tok waits for no woman!
Who do you tag? I tag you! Go forth and try this tag out for yourselves! I had a lot of fun doing it.
Well, wasn’t that a week? If you don’t know, I live in Texas, the Dallas area, to be more specific. There was a small winter storm last week. It knocked out our power for a few days, then we were on the rolling blackout schedule. Ruined everything in our fridge. Luckily we were able to put all of our frozen items outside on the back patio to stay frozen for those few days without power.
Alas, I was not able to post last week, cause no power means no internet. We didn’t even have internet on our phones. We suffered so.
Still, we were lucky compared to some. We did get power back eventually, and we live in a newer house so we have better insulation on our house, plus gas logs in the fireplace and a gas stove top to cook on. Oh, and I was still able to make the all important cup of tea on that same stove. I can’t go without my tea!
But on with the regularly scheduled blog post!
The time has come, my book shelves say, to get rid of some books!
Now, we don’t get rid of books haphazardly. Members of this household are scarred from the last time they got rid of books. So we do it sparingly.
But, I’ve been saving a few books to unhaul, and I don’t want to keep something I know I’m not going to read again. That’s just a waste of space that could be better put towards storing books that I like. Which would mean I get to buy more books.
Plus, I’m going to take them to a Half Priced Books, which is a book re-sale shop here in Texas (and all over the country if I’m honest) where I can get store credit to buy more books. So yeah.
Look. I’m not saying I have a problem buying books. Well, I am, but that’s not the point. The point of this post is the unhauling of books! Let’s get to it!
The Road Not Taken by Susan Rubin
This story about a woman who meets her doppelgänger who just happens to be part of an alien race seemed promising but fell short for me. Very, very short. I DNF’d this book last year after only 25 pages. Which stinks, because I wanted to like it.
Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne
The story about an unlikely chosen one. I wanted to like this one. I heard it was really funny, but, it just… wasn’t. My husband, who read it first, didn’t like it either.
How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason
The story about a girl who gets thirteen fairy blessings and then uses them to help her get out of a sticky situation. This one wasn’t terrible. I gave it two stars. I just don’t see myself reaching for it to re-read it.
The Anita Blake Series by Laurell K. Hamilton
I only have the series up to book 13. That’s right after they took a turn from books with plot to, well, books with a lot less plot. I like plot. Plot is important. Now, the author may have improved this since I stopped reading the books, but I’m not going to buy more books to figure it out. Off they go to the used book store!
A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
A book about a guy that gets a new job as death. Sounds like it would be right up my alley. I was wrong, and so I will cart this book off to somewhere else so someone else can give it a good home.
I have a few books that I DNF’d last year that I am telling myself I am going to try and read again, like The Four Profound Weaves and Dune, because for some reason I just can’t give up on that book.
Another month, another set of new releases. And since I’m not buying new books right now, I’ll have to wait on these for a while.
Anyway, on to the books!
The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec-Feb 9th
Angrboda’s story begins where most witches’ tales end: with a burning. A punishment from Odin for refusing to provide him with knowledge of the future, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless, and she flees into the farthest reaches of a remote forest. There she is found by a man who reveals himself to be Loki, and her initial distrust of him transforms into a deep and abiding love.
Their union produces three unusual children, each with a secret destiny, who Angrboda is keen to raise at the edge of the world, safely hidden from Odin’s all-seeing eye. But as Angrboda slowly recovers her prophetic powers, she learns that her blissful life—and possibly all of existence—is in danger.
With help from the fierce huntress Skadi, with whom she shares a growing bond, Angrboda must choose whether she’ll accept the fate that she’s foreseen for her beloved family…or rise to remake their future. From the most ancient of tales this novel forges a story of love, loss, and hope for the modern age.
I’ve never really read a lot about Norse mythology. This book has me intrigued.
The Children of D’Hara by Terry Goodkind-Feb 4th
The further adventures of Richard and Kahlan from the Sword of Truth series. I haven’t finished reading the other books in the series, and I should probably do that. Doesn’t stop me from wanting this one though. It seems to be a collection of shorter works. Also, I feel I should point out that this will probably be the last one in the series, as Terry Goodkind passed away last year.
The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox-Feb 9th
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.
Sold! Seriously. I barely managed to stop myself from pre-ordering this book it sounds so much up my alley.
Muse by Brittany Cavallaro-Feb 2nd
The year is 1893,and war is brewing in the First American Kingdom. But Claire Emerson has a bigger problem. Claire’s father is a sought-after inventor, but he believes his genius is a gift granted to him by his daughter’s touch, so he keeps Claire under his control.
As their province prepares for war, Claire plans to escape, even as her best friend, Beatrix, tries to convince her to stay and help with the growing resistance movement that wants to see a woman on the throne.
When her father’s weapon fails to fire on the World’s Fair’s opening day, Claire is taken captive by Governor Remy Duchamp, St. Cloud’s young, untried ruler. Remy believes that Claire’s touch bestows graces he’s never had, and with political rivals planning his demise, Claire might be his only ally.
The last thing that Claire has ever wanted is to be someone else’s muse, but she finally has a choice: Will she quietly remake her world from the shadows—or bring it down in flames?
This sounds amazing.
The Black Coast by Mike Brooks-Feb 16th
War Dragons. Fearsome Raiders. A Daemonic Warlord on the Rise.
When the citizens of Black Keep see ships on the horizon, terror takes them because they know who is coming: for generations, the keep has been raided by the fearsome clanspeople of Tjakorsha. Saddling their war dragons, Black Keep’s warriors rush to defend their home only to discover that the clanspeople have not come to pillage at all. Driven from their own land by a daemonic despot who prophesises the end of the world, the raiders come in search of a new home . . .
Meanwhile the wider continent of Narida is lurching toward war. Black Keep is about to be caught in the crossfire – if only its new mismatched society can survive.
I feel like this book hits all the right notes. Let’s hope so.
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna-Feb 9th
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.
But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.
Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.
Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.
Golden blood? Sound interesting.
Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell-Feb 2nd
A famously disappointing minor royal and the Emperor’s least favorite grandchild, Prince Kiem is summoned before the Emperor and commanded to renew the empire’s bonds with its newest vassal planet. The prince must marry Count Jainan, the recent widower of another royal prince of the empire.
But Jainan suspects his late husband’s death was no accident. And Prince Kiem discovers Jainan is a suspect himself. But broken bonds between the Empire and its vassal planets leaves the entire empire vulnerable, so together they must prove that their union is strong while uncovering a possible conspiracy.
Their successful marriage will align conflicting worlds.
Their failure will be the end of the empire.
This sounds great! Queer space opera! Bring it on!
Hooray! The first month of the year is past us! Huzzah! We have survived another month of winter. Not that winter in Texas is cold, really.
But alas, a weather report is not why you are here. You want to know about what I read during the month of January. Onward!
Outlawed by Anna North
A book about a woman who runs away from a potential hanging to join an outlaw gang? I thought I was going to love this book. Alas, it just didn’t resonate with me in any way. Which can sometimes happen. Sorry book. Into the DNF pile you go. 1 Star.
This Place: 150 Years Retold by Various
A graphic novel with the stories of 150 years of Canadian Indigenous history. It was hard to read, and in places I might have cried. No really. I did tear up. There was some terrible stuff happening to these people, and still is happening. And it’s not so different here in America, either. 5 stars.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
A witch finds a magic book and a vampire wants said book. That’s a really terrible description of a really great book. I did write a review of all three books in the series. If you want to read that it’s here. Be aware, there are mild spoilers in it. And yes, I do love this book. 5 stars.
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
The sequel to A Discovery of Witches. It’s also my favorite book in the series. Big shocker if you read that review I was talking about. 5 stars.
The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
Yes I read the whole All Souls Trilogy. No I’m not sorry I did it. See said review. Writing said review made me want to read the books again, and I just finish reading them! I have a problem. 5 stars.
The House in the Cerulean in Sea by TJ Klune
This book about a human case worker who goes to check on a house full of magical children is super heart warming. I loved this book. How many times can I say that in this post? I mean really? Did I love every book I read this month? Almost. 5 stars.
And now it’s time for stats!
5 out of 6 books were adventurous. That’s what happens when you read mostly fantasy.
3 slow books? I’ll take it, since I know it’s true.
Yes for longer books! I read a lot of shorter books when I, well, read. But I love longer books too.
Starting off the new year right with one non-fiction book.
Me, read romance? Yes, yes I did. The All Souls trilogy is a fantasy romance series, so these stats make sense.
I 5 starred a lot of books in January. Oops. Well, not oops, because I don’t regret it. You can’t help what you enjoy. And since I read for the enjoyment of it, well, 5 stars all around! Except you Outlawed, you don’t get 5 stars.
What did you read this month that you would give 5 stars to?
Does anyone else go to write 2021 and still write 2020 first? Or have you adapted yet? Cause I’m still doing it. It’s annoying and I would like it to stop now.
And I know I said I wasn’t going to buy anymore books. But hear me out. My logic is sound.
I still had room on my TBR cart.
And Book Outlet was having a sale.
I know, I know. You don’t have to tell me. I’m weak.
The Angel of Crows by Katherine Addison
A story set in 1880’s London about angels, vampires, and werewolves. Plus Jack the ripper? Yes please. I’ll happily read this one.
A Blade so Black by L.L. McKinney
Urban fantasy meets Alice in Wonderland. Consider me sold!
Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto
A girl disguising herself as a boy to ride a phoenix, which happens to be my favorite mythical creature. Like I’m gonna say no to that.
The Hike by Drew Magary
A simple hike takes a turn for the fantastical in this book by Drew Magary. I’m not gonna lie, I bought this one cause I enjoyed his book The Postmortal so much.
The Nightjar by Deborah Hewitt
A woman dreams of birds her whole life. Turns out those birds guard human souls, go figure. I needed this book!
Perelandra by C.S.Lewis
This is the second book in the indomitable C.S. Lewis’ The Space Trilogy. I didn’t look at the description before I bought it because I haven’t read the first book yet. What? It’s on my TBR cart.
These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch
Soldiers, pirates, heretics, missing countrymen! This book claims to have everything. I have to see for myself.
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
A Man does a good deed and plunges headfirst into a world he never dreamed existed. I’m pretty sure, based on the votes, that this is going to be one of my book clubs picks for February. So I was really stoked to see the Kindle version on sale for $2. That’s right, $2! Of course I picked it up.
Year One by Nora Roberts
A plague sweeps the land, and the world as we have come to know it crumbles. Umm…anyways. This was picked by one of my books clubs as the book for January. Didn’t hurt that it had been sitting in my Shopping Cart for the better part of 4 months.
Outlawed by Anna North
A barren woman risks being labeled a witch and hung, so she runs for her life to a group of outlaws. This was my Book of the Month pick.
The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
She has the unique ability to travel through universes, but someone is killing all her doppelgangers. Sounds like a Sci-Fi epic I needed to own! So I bought it!
And hey, would you look at that! I only bought 11 books this month! That’s actually worse than I thought. Next month I vow to only buy three.
Why is it, when we love something, we just don’t want to be critical of it? Take, for example, Baked Ruffles. I love them very much. They are just the right thickness for dips, so they rarely break, they taste good, they aren’t as salty as regular ruffles, and I like the texture.
But, and this is hard for me to admit, I hate the way they are sometimes so dang wide. I have to break them in half to make them work for me.
That’s the way I feel right now. Because I’m about to review the All Souls Trilogy, or the A Discovery of Witches book series.
I’ll try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, but given that the first book is 10 years old (Really, only 10? Zeesh) some spoilers may leak out. And given that I am reviewing three books, yes, there may be spoilers.
Have I mentioned the spoilers?
The story of A Discovery of Witches begins with Dr. Diana Bishop, our female protagonist, finding a book, Ashmole 782, a magical alchemical manuscript. Diana, wanting nothing to do with magic, sends the book back to whence it came. But her calling the book forth has caught the notice of other creatures (witches, daemons, vampires), most notably Dr. Matthew Clairmont, a vampire.
In Shadow of Night, the second book of the series, we find our intrepid (really, Lauren? That’s the word you’re going with?) heroes thrust back in time into 1590s England by way of Diana’s witchy ability called Time Walking. Here they meet such historical notables as Sir Walter Raleigh, Christopher Marlow, and Queen Elizabeth! Rotting teeth included! In this book, Diana is seeking out teachers for her burgeoning magical abilities and both she and Matthew are searching for Ashmole 782. You know, before it became called Ashmole 782.
In The Book of Life, we find Diana and Matthew returned to the present, with Diana having learned control over her magic, and they have renewed purpose in finding the book. Also, they are married now! Huzzah!! They face many hurdles, though, in seeking the book. Most of the members of the Congregation don’t want them together and members of their own vampiric family might be against them.
So what did I think of these books? Well, let us start at the beginning.
A Discovery of Witches is an exquisite book. It’s almost lyrical in it’s writing style. Not words I say often. In fact, I don’t think I’ve said them at all before. It’s pacing is spot on, though, as with most romance style books, I think Matthew and Diana fell in love a little too quickly. But hey, when you know, you know. Ya know?
But that’s not really a pacing issue, is it? That’s a plot choice.
Speaking of plot, I like how DNA is important to the story. The world of science being such a large portion of a vampire’s life is both funny and thought-provoking at the same time. But that’s a small part of the first book, it’s a bigger part of the third book, though. The plot moves along quite nicely. No part of it feels like your rushing to get to the end of the book, which I appreciate.
The characters are rich, fully realized versions of themselves. They never feel anything less than at their best, even when it’s just side characters, like Emily, Sarah, Hamish, or Miriam. Our villains, on the other hand, feel a little less fleshed out. We don’t spend enough time with Satu, Peter Knox, or Gerbert for them to be fully actualized, but more time with them would have been nice.
There aren’t really any big plot twists to this book. There might be one if you squint hard enough, but the author hasn’t written these books that way. Everything flows seamlessly from one moment to the next. Okay, fine, there is one. And it does have ramifications for each of the following books. But it’s not like a plot twist where you are left going “OMG, why did that happen”, it’s more like “well, that’s interesting information”.
I really liked how this book ended. It left me wanting the second book to read almost immediately. And given that I got this book on Kindle when it was first released, I had to wait a minute. Stupid waiting.
Ah well. Patience is a virtue.
On to my favorite book, Shadow of Night! Deborah Harkness (the author) is a historian, and it really shows here. In my personal opinion, this book is where the writing and research really shine. And I love her writing style. It just seems to flow effortlessly, and I’m sure that took quite a bit of effort.
This book is set in 1590s Elizabethan England, France, and Bohemia. I love how the time period really comes alive through the storytelling. All the characters are compelling, though I hate Kit. He really bothered me. Which, I suppose, was the author’s point. I also love Mary Sidney You gotta love positive female friendships!
Again, the plot and pacing are on point. Honestly I found no faults with this book. Of course I didn’t, it’s my favorite. And how many times can I say something is my favorite before I am tempted to use that gif from Elf?
The Book of Life is the third, but not final, book in this universe. This, in my opinion, is the weakest of the three books. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s still a great book in own right. It’s just not as strong as the other two books. The pacing was a little messy. Not terribly messy, mind you, just a little bit messy. The plot was great. I really enjoyed how that important detail of DNA came back into play big time in this book.
The ending of this book felt a little, well, not rushed, but it didn’t flow as well I would have liked. It seemed like the author had so many ideas she wasn’t quite sure how to get them all out. Was it still well done? Mostly yes. Will I read it again constantly? Absolutely.
I really loved the addition of Chris, he’s a fantastic new character. And oh boy Benjamin. Does he make an excellent villain. Disturbing, but excellent. And we can’t forget the loss of that character. If you’ve read the books, you know the one. That one hurt a little bit.
So what do I think of the trilogy overall? I think it’s fantastic! Everyone should read it! 5 Stars all around! Too enthusiastic for you? Try this instead: I find these pages to be full of the most wondrous adventures to be told of witch and vampire. You think I’m kidding? Turns out, I read these books this time two years ago too. How do I know this? Check out this photo of my cat sitting on one of the books. Silly KoKo.
No, but seriously. I love all three of these books. I read through them in about 9 days. And there is still the 4th one, Time’s Convert, to read. And (huzzah!) according to Deborah Harkness’ own Instagram account, she is working on a 5th book. So I’m good.
So I skipped last month’s new releases. I just didn’t want anything last month. Go figure.
This month I found a few books.
Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor, January 19
The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From hereon in she would be known as Sankofa―a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past.
Her touch is death, and with a glance a town can fall. And she walks―alone, except for her fox companion―searching for the object that came from the sky and gave itself to her when the meteors fell and when she was yet unchanged; searching for answers.
But is there a greater purpose for Sankofa, now that Death is her constant companion?
I loved Binti and am excited to read another short story by this author. Lets do this!
The Mask Of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick, January 19
This is your past, the good and the ill of it, and that which is neither . . . Arenza Lenskaya is a liar and a thief, a pattern-reader and a daughter of no clan. Raised in the slums of Nadezra, she fled that world to save her sister.
This is your present, the good and the ill of it, and that which is neither . . . Renata Viraudax is a con artist recently arrived in Nadezra. She has one goal: to trick her way into a noble house and secure her fortune.
This is your future, the good and the ill of it, and that which is neither . . . As corrupt nightmare magic begins to weave its way through the city of dreams, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled—with Ren at their heart. And if she cannot sort the truth from the lies, it will mean the destruction of all her worlds.
A fantasy book with female protagonists? Yup, sounds like my kind of book. Also “corrupt magic”!
The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry by C.M. Waggoner, January 12
Dellaria Wells, petty con artist, occasional thief, and partly educated fire witch, is behind on her rent in the city of Leiscourt—again. Then she sees the “wanted” sign, seeking Female Persons, of Martial or Magical ability, to guard a Lady of some Importance, prior to the celebration of her Marriage. Delly fast-talks her way into the job and joins a team of highly peculiar women tasked with protecting their wealthy charge from unknown assassins.
Delly quickly sets her sights on one of her companions, the confident and well-bred Winn Cynallum. The job looks like nothing but romance and easy money until things take a deadly (and undead) turn. With the help of a bird-loving necromancer, a shapeshifting schoolgirl, and an ill-tempered reanimated mouse named Buttons, Delly and Winn are determined to get the best of an adversary who wields a twisted magic and has friends in the highest of places.
This sounds great! I love the idea of bad girl turning to the good guys, however reluctantly.
Outlawed by Anna North, January 5
In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw.
The day of her wedding, 17 year old Ada’s life looks good; she loves her husband, and she loves working as an apprentice to her mother, a respected midwife. But after a year of marriage and no pregnancy, in a town where barren women are routinely hanged as witches, her survival depends on leaving behind everything she knows.
She joins up with the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang, a band of outlaws led by a preacher-turned-robber known to all as the Kid. Charismatic, grandiose, and mercurial, the Kid is determined to create a safe haven for outcast women. But to make this dream a reality, the Gang hatches a treacherous plan that may get them all killed. And Ada must decide whether she’s willing to risk her life for the possibility of a new kind of future for them all.
This is more of an alternate history, historical sci-fi book than fantasy. But the premise of a woman running away before she can get hanged and joining up with a gang of outlaws? Yes please. Also, this is my Book of the Month pick this month. So, happy me, I already get this book! Hooray!
Lore by Alexandra Bracken
Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals. They are hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.
Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory after her family was murdered by a rival line. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man—now a god—responsible for their deaths.
Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek her out: Castor, a childhood friend Lore believed to be dead, and Athena, one of the last of the original gods, now gravely wounded.
The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and a way to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to rejoin the hunt, binding her fate to Athena’s, will come at a deadly cost—and it may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.
Greek mythology stories make me happy. So this is one that I am looking to pick up.
And there you have it, the 5 books I am looking forward to for January. I may not pick them up in January, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting them.
And there is that review done. That’s it. That’s all you need to know.
No, but really, I’ll give an actual review. If I have to. And since I am a book blog and I read this book both for enjoyment and to review it, I guess I’ll have to review it. Whoo hoo!
So what can I say about this book.
Overall it’s heartwarming and endearing, which is something you don’t often say about fantasy books. I’ve heard people describe this book as though it left them feeling like it gave them a warm hug. I’m not gonna lie, I felt the same way, if you could tell by my opening statement.
Plus, LBGTQ+ rep!
Linus, as the main character, is complex for all that he is a simple man who likes simple things. He is very straight laced. His world is made up of a set of rules set by the government agency he works for, which is the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. Linus is a case worker, someone who goes around and inspects orphanages that house magical children and makes sure that they are up to par. He likes the daily grind of his life and doesn’t wonder if there is anything more to the world than what he already knows. Plus, he has a cat, Calliope.
We love a good cat around here.
One day Linus gets assigned the most classified of jobs, to looks into the lives of the children on the island off the coast of the small village of Marsyas. That’s when things get interesting.
Arthur is the is master of the house and Zoe is it’s caretaker. And I love them both so much! The six children shall remain anonymous because to even give the name of one of them would spoil the surprise. And oh, you will enjoy this surprise. Except for Chauncey, who dreams of growing up to be a bellhop. A Bellhop! How cute is that!
Linus gets drawn into the daily lives of these children even as he is reporting on them back to the head office of DICOMY. Will Linus discover there is more to life?
I love Linus’ character progression. Nothing felt faked or forced for the sake of the plot. And Arthur was a lovely counterbalance. How each saw the world was in opposition to the other. The children were simply delightful. Each had there own unique story and way of looking at life.
So I think it’s safe to assume that I approve of the characters and their development.
The pacing in this book was spot on. It never felt like you were rushing to reach the end, or that you were slowing down to reach a hard earned point. It was consistent throughout the book. Much appreciated, TJ Klune (the author).
World building was pretty good. This book is clearly meant to be some form of magical realism, but we are never really told what country this all takes place in. I keep picturing a New England or United Kingdom setting. So the vagueness didn’t really sit well with me. It didn’t keep me from appreciating the book, but it did bother me a little.
I really connected with this story, as I think anyone who has felt like the odd one out will. It’s message of hope and being yourself was warm and, above all, kind. Which, again, not something you can often say about fantasy novels.
I really loved this book. I can see myself re-reading this whenever I am having a bad time of it mentally and am in need of a pick me up.
Self care is important!
So all in all I gave this book 5 stars, and I think you will to. So go give The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune a chance!
It’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day! If you are ever in Memphis, Tennessee and want to learn about this amazing man, and others involved in the Civil Rights movement, check out the National Civil Rights Museum. You know, when Covid hasn’t closed it. They are having virtual programs today, Jan 18, if you want to learn more.
On with the completely unrelated blog post!
I heard about Book Outlet on TicTok. So I read a few reviews online and decided to give them a try.
First thing you need to know is that they don’t carry the newest releases. What they do carry is recent releases that are maybe one or two years old. But maybe not the most popular things. But sometimes the popular things. You just have no way of knowing unless you check back regularly.
I know, super helpful.
Second thing to know is that the shipping is, well, problematic. They tell you with the free shipping that it can take anywhere from 3 to 20 business days. They mean that. I ordered mine on Friday, November 20th and didn’t get it until Saturday, December 12th. That’s 23 total days, 14 business days.
The website interface is…interesting. Searching for books by title is easy enough. And you can break down the book options by genre. It’s when you go to search by authors that it gets really tricky. You have to search last name first, with a comma between the last and first names, and both must have the first letters capitalized or the search results will come back with nothing. It took me a few tries to figure this out.
Now onto the books themselves! I ordered 6 books and I am pleased to report that I received all 6 books. And in good condition! Though one did arrive with a store sticker on it. I had seen that was a possibility before hand, I was just hoping I would be spared that fate.
The packing slip came with clear instructions on how to make a return, file a claim for missing or mismatched merchandise, or just how to ask general questions. I had no need to do any of those things, so I can’t speak to whether or not that’s easy.
I’d say my only drawback was the shipping time, so if you need a book fast, don’t buy it here.