Top Ten Dynamic Duos

Well hello, beautiful people! Pardon the lateness of my arrival with this post. I got a headache yesterday (It was seventy-five degrees!) and I still have a headache today (it’s thirty-five degrees!) because the Texas weather has gone nuts! We are also supposed to get freezing rain tomorrow! What! I can’t with this.

But despite all of that, the world still turns, and it’s Tuesday. It’s the two-est of Tuesdays! And that means it’s Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about Dynamic Duos. Interpret that as you will. It could be as duologies or pairings or friends or all of the above! I haven’t read very many duologies, so we won’t be focusing on that aspect of it, but friends and lovers? Heck yeah!

Ron and Hermione from Harry Potter by, well, you know.

For all I don’t like the author, the books are timeless. And Ron and Hermione are a big part of that. Watching their relationship grow over time in both the books and on-screen was quite fun. You were rooting for them since the first book.

Legolas and Gimli from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

This is a classic friendship that is about more than just becoming friends through hardship. It’s about two parties overcoming deep-seated prejudices to see the best of each other and form a lifelong bond. I loved seeing it on screen, but it’s also more moving in the books when you read the appendices and learn how this friendship ends.

Rohan and Sioned from The Dragon Prince Trilogy by Melanie Rawn

Rohan and Sioned are my favorite fantasy romance paring…so far. They balance each other well. Sure, it’s insta-love, but they face hardships as a couple and fight for their relationship. Their unshakable bond is forged through communication and respect. Also a healthy dose of sneaking away from their responsibilities to spend some quality time together.

Marcus and April from Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade

I wrote a gushing review of this book just yesterday! Marcus and April, while flawed, are a couple that is built on love and respect. I loved watching them discover each other and grow together.

Eve and Roarke from the In Death series by J.D. Robb

These two are constantly surprising one another. I enjoy watching them discover who the other is, and find new depths to their partner and themselves. It also helps that they are both willing to go out of their comfort zones for each other.

Mercy and Adam from the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs

Mercy and Adam are two different species, he is a wolf she a cotoye, yet the love and respect (it starts as a need to irritate) they have for one another is outstanding. There is no length they won’t go to keep each other, and their pack/family, safe. This often leads to each of them thinking they know what’s best, which leads to poor communication, which, eventually, gets resolved.

Addie and Henry from The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Addie and Henry are complicated, to say the least. When she meets him, she is almost desperate for his attention, as he is the first person in over 300 years to remember her. What forms is a sweet and enduring relationship.

Ryland and … from Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

I can’t really say much about these two without giving it away. But this friendship is so pure. I love it so much.

Matthew and Diana from The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

I’ve made no secret of my love for this series, and at the heart of that lies Matthew and Diana. The story of a witch and a vampire who have to defy a centuries-old law just to be together. There isn’t anything they aren’t willing to do to be together. And it’s a beautifully written journey.

Amelia and Zaira from the Swords and Fire Trilogy by Melissa Caruso

At first, these two have a contentious relationship that builds into a begrudging trust. It’s made all the more complicated by the fact that Zaira wants nothing to do with the institution she finds herself inextricably bound to.

And there it is. My list of dynamic duos. I can actually think of several more but managed to narrow the list down to these ten. It’s a miracle!

Who is your favorite dynamic duo?

New Releases-January 2022

Well hello, beautiful peoples! I hope you are doing well today. I’m still ill, but I’m not letting that stop me from bringing you the newest releases for the month of January, of which there are many. Seriously, there are 22. There were very few new releases for December, and this month we have 22 dropping? Wowzers.

Part of the reason the list is so long is that I have decided to include some sequels in my new release posting. I mean, why not post all the bookish goodness?

As always these are projected release dates and are subject to change.

January 4th

The Starless Crown by James Rollins

A gifted student foretells an apocalypse. Her reward is a sentence of death.

Fleeing into the unknown she is drawn into a team of outcasts:

A broken soldier, who once again takes up the weapons he’s forbidden to wield and carves a trail back home.

A drunken prince, who steps out from his beloved brother’s shadow and claims a purpose of his own.

An imprisoned thief, who escapes the crushing dark and discovers a gleaming artifact – one that will ignite a power struggle across the globe.

On the run, hunted by enemies old and new, they must learn to trust each other in order to survive in a world evolved in strange, beautiful, and deadly ways, and uncover ancient secrets that hold the key to their salvation.

But with each passing moment, doom draws closer.

WHO WILL CLAIM THE STARLESS CROWN?

Where the Drowned Girls Go (Wayward Children Book 7) by Seanan McGuire

“Welcome to the Whitethorn Institute. The first step is always admitting you need help, and you’ve already taken that step by requesting a transfer into our company.”

There is another school for children who fall through doors and fall back out again.
It isn’t as friendly as Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.
And it isn’t as safe.

When Eleanor West decided to open her school, her sanctuary, her “Home for Wayward Children,” she knew from the beginning that there would be children she couldn’t save; when Cora decides she needs a different direction, a different fate, a different prophecy, Miss West reluctantly agrees to transfer her to the other school, where things are run very differently by Whitethorn, the Headmaster.

She will soon discover that not all doors are welcoming…

The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan

Frida Liu is struggling. She doesn’t have a career worthy of her Chinese immigrant parents’ sacrifices. She can’t persuade her husband, Gust, to give up his wellness-obsessed younger mistress. Only with Harriet, their cherubic daughter, does Frida finally attain the perfection expected of her. Harriet may be all she has, but she is just enough.

Until Frida has a very bad day.

The state has its eyes on mothers like Frida. The ones who check their phones, letting their children get injured on the playground; who let their children walk home alone. Because of one moment of poor judgment, a host of government officials will now determine if Frida is a candidate for a Big Brother-like institution that measures the success or failure of a mother’s devotion.

Faced with the possibility of losing Harriet, Frida must prove that a bad mother can be redeemed. That she can learn to be good.

Bad Gods by Gaie Siebold

You can find anything in Scalentine, the city of portals, but you won’t find a better brothel than the Red Lantern. And its proprietor, Babylon Steel (ex-mercenary, ex-priestess, ex… lots of things), means to keep it that way.

But a prurient cult are protesting in the streets, sex workers are disappearing, and Babylon has bills to pay. When the powerful Diplomatic Section hires her – off the books – to find a missing heiress, she has to take the job.

And then her past starts to catch up with her…

The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman

Vira, Ronak, Kaleb, and Riya may be siblings, but they’ve never been close or even liked each other that much. Torn apart by the different paths their lives have taken, only one thing can bring them back together: the search for the Ivory Key, a thing of legend that will lead the way to a new source of magic. Magic is Ashoka’s biggest export and the only thing standing between them and war with the neighboring kingdoms—as long as their enemies don’t find out that the magic mines are nearly depleted.

The siblings all have something to gain from finding the Ivory Key, and even more to lose if they don’t. For Vira, the Ivory Key is the only way to live up to the legacy of her mother, the beloved former maharani. Ronak plans to get out of his impending political marriage by selling the Ivory Key to the highest bidder. Kaleb has been falsely accused of assassinating the former maharani, and this is the only way to clear his name. And Riya needs to prove her loyalty to the Ravens, the group of rebels that wants to take control away from the maharani and give it to the people. With each sibling harboring secrets and conflicting agendas, figuring out a way to work together may be the most difficult task of all. And in a quest this dangerous, working together is the only way to survive.

January 11th

Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the powerful Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when Xingyin’s magic flares and her existence is discovered, she is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind.

Alone, untrained, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to learn alongside the Crown Prince, mastering archery and magic, even as passion flames between her and the emperor’s son.

To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies across the earth and skies. When treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, however, she must challenge the ruthless Celestial Emperor for her dream—striking a dangerous bargain in which she is torn between losing all she loves or plunging the realm into chaos.

The Practical Guide to Conquering the World (The Seige Book 3) by K.J. Parker

This is the true story of Aemilius Felix Boioannes the younger, the intended and unintended consequences of his life, the bad stuff he did on purpose, and the good stuff that happened in spite of him.

It is, in other words, the tale of a war to end all wars, and the man responsible.

The Silver Bullets of Annie Oakley: An Elemental Masters Novel by Mercedes Lackey

Annie Oakley has always suspected there is something “uncanny” about herself, but has never been able to put a name to it. But when Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show goes on tour through Germany, Bill temporarily hires a new sharpshooter to be part of his “World Wide Congress of Rough Riders”: a woman named Giselle, who also happens to be an Elemental Master of Air. Alongside this new performer, Annie discovers that she and her husband, Frank, are not simply master marksman, but also magicians of rare ability.

As they travel and perform, Annie must use her newfound knowledge and rare skill to combat creatures of the night scattered across the countryside, who threaten both the performers and the locals. Annie’s got her gun, and it’s filled with silver bullets.

Gods and Dragons (Wake the Dragon Book 3) by Kevin J. Anderson

Two continents at war: the Three Kingdoms and Ishara have been in conflict for a thousand years. But when an outside threat arises—the reawakening of a powerful ancient race that wants to remake the world—the two warring nations must somehow set aside generations of hatred to form an alliance against a far more deadly enemy.

Battle of the Linguist Mages by Scotto Moore

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!

Deep Dive by Ron Walters

Still reeling from the failure of his last project, videogame developer Peter Banuk is working hard to ensure his next game doesn’t meet the same fate. He desperately needs a win, not only to save his struggling company, but to justify the time he’s spent away from his wife and daughters.

So when Peter’s tech-genius partner offers him the chance to beta-test a new state-of-the-art virtual reality headset, he jumps at it. But something goes wrong during the trial, and Peter wakes to find himself trapped in an eerily familiar world where his children no longer exist.

As the lines between the real and virtual worlds begin to blur, Peter is forced to reckon with what truly matters to him. But can he escape his virtual prison before he loses his family forever?

The Amber Crown by Jacey Bedford

The king is dead, his queen is missing. On the amber coast, the usurper king is driving Zavonia to the brink of war. A dangerous magical power is rising up in Biela Miasto, and the only people who can set things right are a failed bodyguard, a Landstrider witch, and the assassin who set off the whole sorry chain of events.

Valdas, Captain of the High Guard, has not only failed in his duty to protect the king, but he’s been accused of the murder, and he’s on the run. He’s sworn to seek justice, but his king sets him another task from beyond the grave. Valdas doesn’t believe in magic, which is unfortunate as it turns out.

Mirza is the healer-witch of a Landstrider band, valued and feared in equal measure for her witchmark, her scolding tongue, and her ability to walk the spirit world. When she’s given a task by Valdas’ dead king, she believes that the journey she must take is one she can never return from.

Lind is the clever assassin. Yes, someone paid him to kill the king, but who is to blame, the weapon or the power behind it? Lind must face his traumatic past if he’s to have a future.

Can these three discover the real villain, find the queen, and set the rightful king on the throne before the country is overcome?

The Bone Spindle by Leslie Vedder

Fi is a bookish treasure hunter with a knack for ruins and riddles, who definitely doesn’t believe in true love.

Shane is a tough-as-dirt girl warrior from the north who likes cracking skulls, pretty girls, and doing things her own way.

Briar Rose is a prince under a sleeping curse, who’s been waiting a hundred years for the kiss that will wake him.

Cursed princes are nothing but ancient history to Fi—until she pricks her finger on a bone spindle while exploring a long-lost ruin. Now she’s stuck with the spirit of Briar Rose until she and Shane can break the century-old curse on his kingdom.

Dark magic, Witch Hunters, and bad exes all stand in her way—not to mention a mysterious witch who might wind up stealing Shane’s heart, along with whatever else she’s after. But nothing scares Fi more than the possibility of falling in love with Briar Rose.

To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara

In an alternate version of 1893 America, New York is part of the Free States, where people may live and love whomever they please (or so it seems). The fragile young scion of a distinguished family resists betrothal to a worthy suitor, drawn to a charming music teacher of no means. In a 1993 Manhattan besieged by the AIDS epidemic, a young Hawaiian man lives with his much older, wealthier partner, hiding his troubled childhood and the fate of his father. And in 2093, in a world riven by plagues and governed by totalitarian rule, a powerful scientist’s damaged granddaughter tries to navigate life without him—and solve the mystery of her husband’s disappearances.
 
These three sections are joined in an enthralling and ingenious symphony, as recurring notes and themes deepen and enrich one another: A townhouse in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village; illness, and treatments that come at a terrible cost; wealth and squalor; the weak and the strong; race; the definition of family, and of nationhood; the dangerous righteousness of the powerful, and of revolutionaries; the longing to find a place in an earthly paradise, and the gradual realization that it can’t exist. What unites not just the characters, but these Americas, are their reckonings with the qualities that make us human: Fear. Love. Shame. Need. Loneliness.

January 13th

The North Wind by Alexandria Warwick

Long before civilization, there were the gods. And before the gods, there was the earth, the celestial bodies, and air given flesh. They are the Anemoi—the Four Winds—and they have been banished to the four corners of the world.

Wren of Edgewood is no stranger to suffering. Her parents are gone. Survival is all she knows. For three hundred years, the land known as the Gray has been encased in ice, surrounded by a great barrier called the Shade, which protects the townsfolk from the Deadlands beyond.

But day by day, the Shade weakens.

Only one thing can stop the Shade’s fall: a mortal woman taken captive across the barrier, bound in wedlock to the dark god who reigns over the Deadlands. He is the North Wind, the Frost King, an immortal whose heart is said to be as frigid as the land he rules.

And the time has come for the Frost King to choose his bride.

January 18th

How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu

In 2030, a grieving archeologist arrives in the Arctic Circle to continue the work of his recently deceased daughter at the Batagaika Crater, where researchers are studying long-buried secrets now revealed in melting permafrost, including the perfectly preserved remains of a girl who appears to have died of an ancient virus.

Once unleashed, the Arctic plague will reshape life on Earth for generations to come, quickly traversing the globe, forcing humanity to devise a myriad of moving and inventive ways to embrace possibility in the face of tragedy. In a theme park designed for terminally ill children, a cynical employee falls in love with a mother desperate to hold on to her infected son. A heartbroken scientist searching for a cure finds a second chance at fatherhood when one of his test subjects—a pig—develops the capacity for human speech. A widowed painter and her teenaged granddaughter embark on a cosmic quest to locate a new home planet. 

From funerary skyscrapers to hotels for the dead to interstellar starships, Sequoia Nagamatsu takes readers on a wildly original and compassionate journey, spanning continents, centuries, and even celestial bodies to tell a story about the resilience of the human spirit, our infinite capacity to dream, and the connective threads that tie us all together in the universe.

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…

Engines of Empire by R.S. Ford

The nation of Torwyn is run on the power of industry, and industry is run by the Guilds. Chief among them are the Hawkspurs, whose responsibility it is to keep the gears of the empire turning. That’s exactly why matriarch Rosomon Hawkspur sends each of her heirs to the far reaches of the nation. 

Conall, the eldest son, is sent to the distant frontier to earn his stripes in the military. It is here that he faces a threat he could have never seen coming: the first rumblings of revolution.

Tyreta is a sorceress with the ability to channel the power of pyrestone, the magical resource that fuels the empire’s machines. She is sent to the mines to learn more about how pyrsetone is harvested – but instead, she finds the dark horrors of industry that the empire would prefer to keep hidden.

The youngest, Fulren, is a talented artificer and finds himself acting as a guide to a mysterious foreign emissary. Soon after, he is framed for a crime he never committed. A crime that could start a war. 

As the Hawkspurs grapple with the many threats that face the nation within and without, they must finally prove themselves worthy–or their empire will fall apart. 

The Chosen Twelve by James Breakwell

The last interstellar colony ship is down to its final batch of humans after the robots in charge unhelpfully deleted the rest. But rebooting a species and training them for the arduous task of colonization isn’t easy – especially when the planet below is filled with monsters, the humans are more interested in asking questions than learning, and the robots are all programmed to kill each other.

But the fate of humanity rests on creating a new civilization on the planet below, and there are twelve seats on the lander. Will manipulation or loyalty save the day?

January 25th

Light Years From Home by Mike Chen

Every family has issues. Most can’t blame them on extraterrestrials.

Evie Shao and her sister, Kass, aren’t on speaking terms. Fifteen years ago on a family camping trip, their father and brother vanished. Their dad turned up days later, dehydrated and confused—and convinced he’d been abducted by aliens. Their brother, Jakob, remained missing. The women dealt with it very differently. Kass, suspecting her college-dropout twin simply ran off, became the rock of the family. Evie traded academics to pursue alien conspiracy theories, always looking for Jakob.

When Evie’s UFO network uncovers a new event, she goes to investigate. And discovers Jakob is back. He’s different—older, stranger, and talking of an intergalactic war—but the tensions between the siblings haven’t changed at all. If the family is going to come together to help Jakob, then Kass and Evie are going to have to fix their issues, and fast. Because the FBI is after Jakob, and if their brother is telling the truth, possibly an entire space armada, too.

Goliath by Tochi Onyebuchi

In the 2050s, Earth has begun to empty. Those with the means and the privilege have departed the great cities of the United States for the more comfortable confines of space colonies. Those left behind salvage what they can from the collapsing infrastructure. As they eke out an existence, their neighborhoods are being cannibalized. Brick by brick, their houses are sent to the colonies, what was once a home now a quaint reminder for the colonists of the world that they wrecked.

A primal biblical epic flung into the future, Goliath weaves together disparate narratives—a space-dweller looking at New Haven, Connecticut as a chance to reconnect with his spiraling lover; a group of laborers attempting to renew the promises of Earth’s crumbling cities; a journalist attempting to capture the violence of the streets; a marshal trying to solve a kidnapping—into a richly urgent mosaic about race, class, gentrification, and who is allowed to be the hero of any history.

Obsidian by Sarah J. Daley

Shade Nox is the only witch in a land of wizards – a fiend, a rogue, a wanted criminal.

Defying those who think her an abomination, Shade wears her tattoos openly and carries obsidian blades at her hips. For years, she has protected the outcast clans who wander the blighted Wastes, but the land is growing more unstable and her blades are no longer enough.

To save her people, Shade vows to raise a Veil of protection – a feat not accomplished in over a hundred years. But the magical Veils are said to belong to the Brotherhood church; if she succeeds in raising one, it will expose their lies. They swear to see her obliterated first.

Treading a dangerous path where allies can be as deceitful as enemies, and where demons lurk in the shadows, Shade chases a vision which could lead to her people’s salvation… or her own destruction.

Yup, 22 books. I know, most of these will already be out by the time you see this, but that’s okay. You may find some hidden gems that you hadn’t considered before!

What sticks out to you? I know I’m interested in Battle of the Linguist Mages and also The Starless Crown.

First Lines Friday-December 24, 2021

Happy Christmas! How is your holiday eve going! Me, well, I’m going to watch A Muppet’s Christmas Carol 16 times. That movie is perfect.

But hey, it just so happens to be First Lines Friday!

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!

The Lines:

” Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was a dead as a door-nail.”

That’s a pretty famous opening line. Do we even need arrows?

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an old miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. After their visits Scrooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man.

I just couldn’t help myself. It is Christmas after all! Besides, I couldn’t mention the superior adaptation of A Christmas Carol and not use the original for my First Lines Friday post.

Themeing!

But in all seriousness. I wish you and yours the happiest of holidays. May you know both comfort and joy this Christmas and may all your bookish wishes come true!

Naughty or Nice Book Tag

When I saw this festive tag on the Wicked Witch’s Blog, I knew I had to do it. She got it from Jennily, to whom the image below also belongs. This tag spoke to me, which is weird because I read it.

Rules

  • Tag & link the person who tagged you (um, no one)
  • Tag and link me/this post (if you would be so kind, I love reading your answers!)
  • Tick/cross off the ones you’ve done
  • Tag another 10 people! (I don’t think I even know ten people!)

Received an ARC and not reviewed it: Yes, but’s that’s only because I like to review books closer to their release date. I should work on that.

Have a less than 60% feedback ratio on NetGalley: Unfortunately, the answer to this one is yes. And that’s because of the same answer above. I’m also behind by one book. Sigh.

Rated a book on Goodreads and promised a full review was to come on your blog (and never did): I can honestly say I have never done this. I don’t really write reviews on Goodreads, and if I do, it’s the same thing you would find on my blog so…yeah.

Folded down the page of a book: Yes. When I was younger. It leads to tearing and ripping on my part so I stopped doing it.

Accidentally spilled on a book: No, thank goodness. Now other people have spilled on my books and I have never forgiven them. But yeah, not me.

DNF a book this year: That’s a big affirmative.

Bought a book purely because it was pretty with no intention of reading it: Yes. I have an illustrated copy of The Hobbit that I got purely for the aesthetics.

Read whilst you were meant to be doing something else (like homework): Um, yes. Almost all the time. I mean, who needs sleep?

Skim read a book: No. I dislike skim reading. If I generally dislike a book enough to be tempted to skim it, I just stop reading.

Completely missed your Goodreads goal: Yes, though I met it this year. Go me!

Borrowed a book and not returned it: Never. Libraries are sacred places. You should always return your books!

Broke a book buying ban: Am I breathing? Then yes, yes I have. And I will continue to do so to the point that I will ban myself from doing book buying bans.

Started a review, left it for ages then forgot what the book was about: Nope. I tend to sit down a write a review as soon as I finish the book so I don’t forget what it is I was reading.

Wrote in a book you were reading: I can honestly say I have not. Have I thought about it? Sure. That temptation usually passes me by.

Finished a book and not added it to your Goodreads: In my past, yes. My Goodreads from years past is a mess. I am much better at keeping up with it now. Of course, this means I’m posting what I’m reading on both Goodreads and The Storygraph.

Borrowed a book and not returned it to a friend: Only once. And I am bound and determined to get that book back to her. I just saw her a few months ago too! I missed my golden opportunity!

Dodged someone asking if they can borrow a book: No. But that’s because I just outright say no.

Broke the spine of someone else’s book: Nope. At least, not that I can remember.

Took the jacket off a book to protect it and ended up making it more damaged: Yes. But my cat did it. I have since learned to put the dust jackets back on the books when I am not reading them.

Sat on a book accidentally: Of course. Who hasn’t? Liars, that’s who.

My score is 11 out of 10, so I’m naughty, but also nice? But mostly naughty. Guess I’m getting coal in my stocking this year!

If you would like to do this tag, go on and give it a go! I had a lot of fun doing it. It’s always amusing to admit you forgot to give a book back.

Ha. Ha ha.

TTT- Books I Hope Santa Brings/Bookish Wishes

It’s almost Christmas!!!

I don’t have a problem. I swear. Anyway… it’s Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and originally created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s post is all about the books we want for Christmas! And I’m not gonna lie. I already have that list prepared because all I asked for Christmas was books.

I’m not predictable at all.

Far From The Light Of Heaven by Tade Thompson

The colony ship Ragtime docks in the Lagos system, having traveled light-years to bring one thousand sleeping souls to a new home among the stars. But when first mate Michelle Campion rouses, she discovers some of the sleepers will never wake.

Answering Campion’s distress call, investigator Rasheed Fin is tasked with finding out who is responsible for these deaths. Soon a sinister mystery unfolds aboard the gigantic vessel, one that will have repercussions for the entire system—from the scheming politicians of Lagos station, to the colony planet Bloodroot, to other far-flung systems, and indeed to Earth itself.

Inhibitor Phase by Alistair Reynolds

For thirty years a tiny band of humans has been sheltering in the caverns of an airless, crater-pocked world called Michaelmas. Beyond their solar system lie the ruins of human interstellar civilization, stalked by a ruthless, infinitely patient cybernetic entity determined to root out the last few bands of survivors. One man has guided the people of Michaelmas through the hardest of times, and given them hope against the wolves: Miguel de Ruyter.

When a lone human ship blunders into their system, and threatens to lead the wolves to Michaelmas, de Ruyter embarks on a desperate, near-suicide mission to prevent catastrophe. But an encounter with a refugee from the ship—the enigmatic woman who calls herself only Glass—leads to de Ruyter’s world being turned upside down.

The Body Scout by Lincoln Michel

In the future, you can have any body you want—as long as you can afford it.

But in a New York ravaged by climate change and repeat pandemics, Kobo is barely scraping by. He
scouts the latest in gene-edited talent for Big Pharma-owned baseball teams, but his own cybernetics are a decade out of date and twin sister loan sharks are banging down his door. Things couldn’t get much worse.

Then his brother—Monsanto Mets slugger J.J. Zunz—is murdered at home plate.

Determined to find the killer, Kobo plunges into a world of genetically modified CEOs, philosophical Neanderthals, and back-alley body modification, only to quickly find he’s in a game far bigger and more corrupt than he imagined. To keep himself together while the world is falling apart, he’ll have to navigate a time where both body and soul are sold to the highest bidder. 

A Marvelous Light by Freya Marske

Robin Blyth has more than enough bother in his life. He’s struggling to be a good older brother, a responsible employer, and the harried baronet of a seat gutted by his late parents’ excesses. When an administrative mistake sees him named the civil service liaison to a hidden magical society, he discovers what’s been operating beneath the unextraordinary reality he’s always known.

Now Robin must contend with the beauty and danger of magic, an excruciating deadly curse, and the alarming visions of the future that come with it—not to mention Edwin Courcey, his cold and prickly counterpart in the magical bureaucracy, who clearly wishes Robin were anyone and anywhere else.

Robin’s predecessor has disappeared, and the mystery of what happened to him reveals unsettling truths about the very oldest stories they’ve been told about the land they live on and what binds it. Thrown together and facing unexpected dangers, Robin and Edwin discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles—and a secret that more than one person has already died to keep.

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.

Hench by Natalie Zina Walchots

Anna does boring things for terrible people because even criminals need office help and she needs a job. Working for a monster lurking beneath the surface of the world isn’t glamorous. But is it really worse than working for an oil conglomerate or an insurance company? In this economy?

As a temp, she’s just a cog in the machine. But when she finally gets a promising assignment, everything goes very wrong, and an encounter with the so-called “hero” leaves her badly injured.  And, to her horror, compared to the other bodies strewn about, she’s the lucky one.

So, of course, then she gets laid off.

With no money and no mobility, with only her anger and internet research acumen, she discovers her suffering at the hands of a hero is far from unique. When people start listening to the story that her data tells, she realizes she might not be as powerless as she thinks.

Because the key to everything is data: knowing how to collate it, how to manipulate it, and how to weaponize it. By tallying up the human cost these caped forces of nature wreak upon the world, she discovers that the line between good and evil is mostly marketing.  And with social media and viral videos, she can control that appearance.

It’s not too long before she’s employed once more, this time by one of the worst villains on earth. As she becomes an increasingly valuable lieutenant, she might just save the world.

Once More Upon A Time by Roshana Chokshi

Once upon a dream, there was a prince named Ambrose
and a princess named Imelda who loved each other…
But alas, no more.
“What a witch takes, a witch does not give back!”
their friends and family warn.
They resign themselves to this loveless fate…
A year and a day pass.
And then their story truly begins…

Embark on a perilous journey with Imelda and Ambrose as they brave magical landscapes and enchanted creatures on their quest to reclaim their heart’s desire…But first, they must remember what that is…

No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull

One October morning, Laina gets the news that her brother has been shot and killed by Boston cops. But what looks like a case of police brutality soon reveals something much stranger. Monsters are real. And they want everyone to know it.

As creatures from myth and legend come out of the shadows, seeking safety through visibility, their emergence sets off a chain of seemingly unrelated events. Members of a local werewolf pack are threatened into silence. A professor follows a missing friend’s trail of bread crumbs to a mysterious secret society. And a young boy with unique abilities seeks refuge in a pro-monster organization with secrets of its own. Meanwhile, more people start disappearing, suicides and hate crimes increase, and protests erupt globally, both for and against the monsters.

At the center is a mystery no one thinks to ask: Why now? What has frightened the monsters out of the dark?

The world will soon find out.

The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl

Holly Liddell has been stuck with crimped hair since 1987 when she agreed to let her boyfriend, Elton, turn her into a vampire. But when he ditches her at a gas station a few decades into their eternity together, she realizes that being young forever actually means working graveyard shifts at Taco Bell, sleeping in seedy motels, and being supernaturally compelled to follow your ex from town to town—at least until Holly meets Elton’s other exes.

It seems that Holly isn’t the only girl Elton seduced into this wretched existence. He turned Ida in 1921, then Rose in 1954, and he abandoned them both before Holly was even born. Now Rose and Ida want to kill him before he can trick another girl into eternal adolescence, and they’ll need Holly’s help to do it. And once Holly starts falling for Elton’s vulnerable new conquest, Parker, she’ll do anything to save her.

To kill Elton for good, Holly and her friends will have to dig up their pasts, rob a bank, and reconcile with the people they’ve hurt in their search for eternal love. And to win the girl, Holly will have to convince Parker that she’s more than just Elton’s crazy ex—even though she is trying to kill him.

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized.

Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn’t include Domingo, but little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. As the trail of corpses stretches behind her, local cops and crime bosses both start closing in.

Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?

I also had The Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao on this list, but the hubs gave that to me early as a birthday gift! It’s like he knows me!

But yes, I did ask for all of these books for Christmas. No, I’m not expecting to get them all. Santa loves me but I don’t expect him to have to carry that many books down the chimney.

First Lines Friday-December 17, 2021

Well hello. Are you prepared for the upcoming Christmas chaos? Me neither! It’s always hectic. We have lots of nieces and nephews, and even though we don’t always get to see them all, we love and miss them all!

Don’t celebrate and are just looking forward to a day off of work? Awesome! I hope you have a nice, relaxing day.

But on this, the Friday before Christmas, I am thinking of First Lines Friday!

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!

The Lines:

“Her name is Melanie. It means “the black girl”, from an ancient Greek word, but her skin is so fair she thinks maybe it’s not such a good name for her. She likes the name Pandora a whole lot, but you don’t get to choose. Miss Justineau assigns names from a big list: new children get the top name on the boys’ list or the top name on the girls’ list, and that, Miss Justineau says, is that.?”

Intrigued?

The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”
Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

So I’m not going to lie. This has been on my TBR for a while. And, since I have had my realization that I don’t like dystopians, I am worried I won’t like it. But! I must go in with an optimistic mind! Otherwise, I will defeat myself before I have even started the book. But yeah, I’ve had this book for years. Years! And I haven’t picked it up. Maybe in the new year?

TTT-Books On My Winter 2021 To-Read List

Well hello, happy people! At least, I hope you’re happy. Are you happy? If you’re not that’s okay. You don’t have to be. All feelings are valid. Except for the ones that lead to pre-meditated murder. Those are not good and you should seek help immediately.

I think I may have gotten a bit off-topic. Because it’s Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and originally created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week we celebrate the winter TBR, a list of ten books that I think I will get to over the next few months!

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?

This one is on my TBR for this month. So I’m hoping to get to it presently.

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Prince Kiem, a famously disappointing minor royal and the Emperor’s least favorite grandchild, has been called upon to be useful for once. He’s commanded to fulfill an obligation of marriage to the representative of the Empire’s newest and most rebellious vassal planet. His future husband, Count Jainan, is a widower and murder suspect.

Neither wants to be wed, but with a conspiracy unfolding around them and the fate of the empire at stake they will have to navigate the thorns and barbs of court intrigue, the machinations of war, and the long shadows of Jainan’s past, and they’ll have to do it together.

So begins a legendary love story amid the stars.

I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book. I mean, it did get nominated for a Goodreads choice award. So yeah.

Fan Fiction 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 takes 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.

A book that was written by Data himself? How could I pass this up?

The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

The Anthropocene is the current geologic age, in which humans have profoundly reshaped the planet and its biodiversity. In this remarkable symphony of essays adapted and expanded from his groundbreaking podcast, bestselling author John Green reviews different facets of the human-centered planet on a five-star scale—from the QWERTY keyboard and sunsets to Canada geese and Penguins of Madagascar.

Funny, complex, and rich with detail, the reviews chart the contradictions of contemporary humanity. As a species, we are both far too powerful and not nearly powerful enough, a paradox that came into sharp focus as we faced a global pandemic that both separated us and bound us together.

I’m going to try to read more non-fiction next year. A goal I set for myself for this year. I thought I would start the year off with this one.

The World Gives Way by Marissa Levin

In fifty years, Myrra will be free.

Until then, she’s a contract worker. Ever since she was five, her life and labor have belonged to the highest bidder on her contract—butchers, laundries, and now the powerful, secretive Carlyles.

But when one night finds the Carlyles dead, Myrra is suddenly free a lot sooner than she anticipated—and at a cost she never could have imagined. Burdened with the Carlyles’ orphaned daughter and the terrible secret they died to escape, she runs. With time running out, Myrra must come face to face with the truth about her world—and embrace what’s left before it’s too late.

I just want to read this because the cover is so pretty. That’s how it’s done, right?

Night Broken by Patricia Briggs

When her mate’s ex-wife storms back into their lives, Mercy knows something isn’t right. Christy has the furthest thing from good intentions—she wants Adam back, and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get him, including turning the pack against Mercy.

Mercy isn’t about to step down without a fight, but there’s a more dangerous threat circling. As the bodies start piling up, she must put her personal troubles aside to face a creature with the power to tear her whole world apart.

I know, I know. It’s the only Mercy Thompson book on the list! I promise. Does it mean it’s the only one I’m going to read? Nope. It’s just the only one I put here.

Monstress Vol 1: Awakening written by Marjorie Liu and art by Sana Takeda

Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steampunk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.

I keep meaning to get to this one and just forgetting I own it! I am hoping by listing it here that I will get to it.

Outlander by Diana Galbadon

Scottish Highlands, 1945. Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding clans in the year of Our Lord . . . 1743.

Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of a world that threatens her life, and may shatter her heart. Marooned amid danger, passion, and violence, Claire learns her only chance of safety lies in Jamie Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior. What begins in compulsion becomes an urgent need, and Claire finds herself torn between two very different men, in two irreconcilable lives.

I have a friend who has been on me to read this book! And since I have a physical copy, a Kindle copy, and have it on audiobook, so I have no excuse!

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountian by Nghi Vo

The cleric Chih finds themself and their companions at the mercy of a band of fierce tigers who ache with hunger. To stay alive until the mammoths can save them, Chih must unwind the intricate, layered story of the tiger and her scholar lover—a woman of courage, intelligence, and beauty—and discover how truth can survive becoming history.

I gave the first novella 5 stars, so I have high expectations for this one!

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

I figured with Valentine’s Day coming up in February I should try and read something romantic. So why not this?

Now, will I actually get to all these books? Probably not. But am I going to try my hardest? Also probably not. I mood read too much. It interferes with my TBR attempts.

But what will you be reading this winter? Inquiring minds want to know.

A Festive TBR- December 2021

hello beautiful humans! I hope you are doing well this fine day! Me, I’m fine. A little disgruntled that it’s not Christmas yet!

Oh well. I shall tide myself over with festive movies, music, and, well, books! This month I only have a few books on the TBR due to the hectic nature of the holiday season. I don’t know about you, but my month is crazy and I don’t even have kids!

To the TBR we go.

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?

If you’ve been following along this month, I have already read this one. It was cute.

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 did a First Lines Friday on this one, and it sounds so cute! Plus I can imagine I will want to bake cookies by the time I am done with this book.

The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews

When newly-divorced Ivy Perkins buys an old farmhouse sight unseen, she is definitely looking for a change in her life. The Four Roses, as the farmhouse is called, is a labor of love—but Ivy didn’t bargain on just how much labor. The previous family left so much furniture and so much junk, that it’s a full-time job sorting through all of it.

At the top of a closet, Ivy finds an old Santa suit—beautifully made and decades old. In the pocket of a suit, she finds a note written in a childish hand: it’s from a little girl who has one Christmas wish, and that is for her father to return home from the war. This discovery sets Ivy off on a mission. Who wrote the note? Did the man ever come home? What mysteries did the Rose family hold?

Ivy’s quest brings her into the community, at a time when all she wanted to do was be left alone and nurse her wounds. But the magic of Christmas makes miracles happen, and Ivy just might find more than she ever thought possible: a welcoming town, a family reunited, a mystery solved, and a second chance at love.

Another one that sounds, well, cute. I need to use another word. Adorable! Yeah! this one sounds adorable!

And yes, you are seeing that right. I only have three books on my holiday TBR this month. And one of them is a novella! I wanted to keep it short and sweet so I could have time to do activities and visit with friends and family. Mostly over facetime.

First Lines Friday-December 10, 2021

Hello happy people! How was your week? Don’t forget to relax after all your hard work. You’ve earned it! Not that you need me to tell you that. But it’s important to take time to take care of yourself. So pull up a cozy mystery, a comfy blanket, and a cup of cocoa and de-stress.

And now I want a cup of tea. Oh well.

But it’s Friday! Huzzah! That means it’s time for First Lines Friday!

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!

The Lines:

“Charlie Goodwin drew a shaky breath and tapped furiously on her phone, the screen illuminating her face in the dark storeroom. She opened an app and searched for the emergency two-minute stress-release meditation. Once the soothing voice began, she closed her eyes and took another deep breath, trying to slow her frantic heartbeat. But all it did was bring the sharp scent of peppermint further up her nose and into her throat.”

Intrigued?

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 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?

This book just so happens to be on my TBR for this month. I couldn’t help myself. Baking is one of my favorite holiday activities. I also found the premise of this story to be so cute! It’s not available until after the holidays on Amazon but is available at Barnes & Noble.

What do you think of this book? Would you give it a read?

Black Friday Book Haul-November 2021

Well. This was originally going to be a very short book haul for you. By the end of the month I had only purchased three books. And then Black Friday happened. The Kindle books went on sale I was forced to buy some. And by forced I mean the prices were so good I couldn’t resist. Stupid Black Friday sales.

So on to the haul!

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?

If this book sounds good to you, the only places you can really get are Barnes & Noble or Book Depository. It’s sold out almost everywhere else. Even Amazon! Including Target! That’s crazy! I’m glad I picked this up when I did last month because I did manage to get a physical copy of it in time for the holidays!

The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews

When newly-divorced Ivy Perkins buys an old farmhouse sight unseen, she is definitely looking for a change in her life. The Four Roses, as the farmhouse is called, is a labor of love—but Ivy didn’t bargain on just how much labor. The previous family left so much furniture and so much junk, that it’s a full-time job sorting through all of it.

At the top of a closet, Ivy finds an old Santa suit—beautifully made and decades old. In the pocket of a suit she finds a note written in a childish hand: it’s from a little girl who has one Christmas wish, and that is for her father to return home from the war. This discovery sets Ivy off on a mission. Who wrote the note? Did the man ever come home? What mysteries did the Rose family hold?

Ivy’s quest brings her into the community, at a time when all she wanted to do was be left alone and nurse her wounds. But the magic of Christmas makes miracles happen, and Ivy just might find more than she ever thought possible: a welcoming town, a family reunited, a mystery solved, and a second chance at love.

This novella sounded so cute, so I snatched it up when I saw it at Target earlier in the month. I’m all for cute-sounding holiday books!

The Keeper of the Night by Kylie Lee Baker

Death is her destiny.

Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough has been collecting souls in the London streets for centuries. Expected to obey the harsh hierarchy of the Reapers who despise her, Ren conceals her emotions and avoids her tormentors as best she can.

When her failure to control her Shinigami abilities drives Ren out of London, she flees to Japan to seek the acceptance she’s never gotten from her fellow Reapers. Accompanied by her younger brother, the only being on earth to care for her, Ren enters the Japanese underworld to serve the Goddess of Death…only to learn that here, too, she must prove herself worthy. Determined to earn respect, Ren accepts an impossible task—find and eliminate three dangerous Yokai demons—and learns how far she’ll go to claim her place at Death’s side.

This was my Book of the Month pick. It sounds like an anime. I had to pick it up.

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

So yeah, I bought this. It better live up to its stellar reputation. Cause yeah. I was completely suckered in by its price point of $3.99.

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

They are the Beautiful Ones, Loisail’s most notable socialites, and this spring is Nina’s chance to join their ranks, courtesy of her well-connected cousin and his calculating wife. But the Grand Season has just begun, and already Nina’s debut has gone disastrously awry. She has always struggled to control her telekinesis—neighbors call her the Witch of Oldhouse—and the haphazard manifestations of her powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.

When entertainer Hector Auvray arrives to town, Nina is dazzled. A telekinetic like her, he has traveled the world performing his talents for admiring audiences. He sees Nina not as a witch, but ripe with potential to master her power under his tutelage. With Hector’s help, Nina’s talent blossoms, as does her love for him.

But great romances are for fairytales, and Hector is hiding a truth from Nina — and himself—that threatens to end their courtship before it truly begins.

I’ve had my eye on this title for a while, so when it went on sale for $2.99 I snatched it up.

Throne Of Glass E-Book Bundle by Sarah J. Mass

When magic has gone from the world and a vicious king rules from his throne of glass, an assassin comes to the castle. She is a prisoner, but if she can defeat twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition to find the greatest assassin in the land, she will become the king’s champion and earn her freedom. But the evil she encounters in the castle goes deep, and as dark forces gather on the horizon – forces which threaten to destroy her entire world – the assassin must take her place in a fight greater than she could ever have imagined.

I’ve heard mixed things about this series, and I was hesitant to pick it up, so when I saw it was available for $5.99 I had to do it. I just had to. I may never read it, but at least now I can.

The Guinivere Deception by Kiersten White

Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.

To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land.

Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?

I love it when books you want go on sale. This one was $1.99! How could I pass that up? Plus, it’s a King Arthur story. My weakness!

The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington

As destiny calls, a journey begins.

It has been twenty years since the godlike Augurs were overthrown and killed. Now, those who once served them — the Gifted — are spared only because they have accepted the rebellion’s Four Tenets, vastly limiting their powers.

As a Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war lost before he was even born. He and others like him are despised. But when Davian discovers he wields the forbidden power of the Augurs, he and his friends Wirr and Asha set into motion a chain of events that will change everything.

To the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian’s wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is. . .

And in the far north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated begins to stir.

I’m not gonna lie, this $1.99 pick-up was a complete cover buy. I had no idea what this book was about until I read the synopsis for the blog. Yeah. I’m special. I hope it’s good.

Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

She answered the Emperor’s call.

She arrived with her arts, her wits, and her only friend.

In victory, her world has turned to ash.

After rocking the cosmos with her deathly debut, Tamsyn Muir continues the story of the penumbral Ninth House in Harrow the Ninth, a mind-twisting puzzle box of mystery, murder, magic, and mayhem. Nothing is as it seems in the halls of the Emperor, and the fate of the galaxy rests on one woman’s shoulders.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, last necromancer of the Ninth House, has been drafted by her Emperor to fight an unwinnable war. Side-by-side with a detested rival, Harrow must perfect her skills and become an angel of undeath — but her health is failing, her sword makes her nauseous, and even her mind is threatening to betray her.

Sealed in the gothic gloom of the Emperor’s Mithraeum with three unfriendly teachers, hunted by the mad ghost of a murdered planet, Harrow must confront two unwelcome questions: is somebody trying to kill her? And if they succeeded, would the universe be better off?

I’m sorry, $2.99 for the sequel to a book I’m pretty sure I also only paid $2.99 for? Yes, please.

I am apparently easily manipulated by Kindle deal pricing. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, whoosh, I buy all the things. That’s a lot of books for under $20.

Did you pick up any books on Black Friday or Cyber Monday?

Update! The Christmas Bookshop is available for purchase at Amazon and Target again! I love it when a book gets restocked, don’t you?