Book Blog, Book Recommendations, Book Talk, Reading Challenge, Review

Alphabet Reading Challenge Q-Z

The Alphabet Reading Challenge for 2020 is finally over for me!

Its a fun yet stressing event that I task myself with every year. I might have to get more creative with certain letters. I feel Z should be like X where if it’s in the title you’re good.

Now we’ve come to the difficult letters of this portion. If you have any suggestions for Q , U, and Z I would love to hear it.

Next year these posts will be done differently.


Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This is a more in depth look into her TED Talk on the history of introverts and how the world works for and against them. She goes over how society and Western culture is shaped to uplift and reward extroverts.


RWBY : Vol 1 The Fall of Beacon Arc  by Bunta Kinami

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

This is the manga of the first volume of the show. This is a great format for new comers. I thought it was really nice to revisit this story in a new art form. My only problem was confusion over who was talking. I read an ARC and hope that the final version cleared this up.  


Small Spaces by Katherina Arden

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Spooky Middle Grade. This was a delight! I haven’t read to my knowledge a scary middle grade novel and I think it’s better than some YA, or Adult. This was entertaining and creepy. I highly recommend for Goosebump fans.  


Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This was incredible & powerful. This has Native American folklore where a girl hunts down and kills monsters. She lives far away from her community and refuses to make attachments after being hurt in the recent past. It has the angry one paired with the soft one trope. LOVE to see it.


Under the Lilacs by Louisa May Alcott

Rating: 2 out of 5.

For one delirious moment I thought this was going to be a horror starring two mystery solving lesbians.  I hate to report that this is not that story. If you know a story like that please leave a comment. Thank you 🙂

The beginning set it up nicely for a lovely thriller mystery solving duo who possibly are more than friends but sadly that is not the case. Honestly I have no idea what this story is about. This was droll as all hell and I don’t recommend. Sorry.   


Vow of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This duology was a disappointment after having loved the Remnant Chronicles. This duology focused heavily on the romance which was big mistake. This last book tries to over correct this but it didn’t fix the issues.


Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This was a delightful & fierce reading experience. I honestly loved everything about this gorgeously written tale. We have hate to love, magic, & tyranny.

For this to be a standalone the pacing was amazing. That’s usually thing that I notice the most to be off with a lot of fantasy but this one pulls it off.

I wish the magical elements were more or at least the world building/ lore in that area was more. Also the fight at the end could have been better.

There is a companion novel Written in Starlight out in January.


The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This is a bridger book. A lot is being built for the rest of the series to build off which can slow the progression. This was still fantastic just not as heavy on the action but of the politics which is prevalent throughout the series.


You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is the rom-com I’ve been needing! This was a feel good story that I needed to read. I couldn’t stop grinning while reading this just exudes good vibes. There are some super cringe things like with our Mean Girl© & the high stakes prom elements which I can over look for scholarship reasons buuut its still a mighty stretch. Either I’m old or I went to a low cal school but prom was never important. In any case this didn’t spoil or ruin my fun. I really LOVE friendships between siblings and M/F platonic friendships as well. I need more. Also, I’m glad to see lighthearted fun stories center Black characters. More of this immediately!


Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I read this without every reading his fiction pieces. I’m aware of them and after having read this I’m even more interested in picking them up. This was interesting to read just for the insight into the world of writing back in the 50’s and how much and how little has actually changed. This focuses on his own work and how he writes. It’s always fascinating to see the behind the scenes of writers.

Have you read any of these? How would you like to see these posts done differently?


Previous Challenge Posts:

Reading Challenge A

Reading Challenge B

Reading Challenge C

Reading Challenge D- F

Reading Challenge G – K

Reading Challenge L- P

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November Wrap Up


Well November went by as wonky as every other month this year. Will there ever be a time I don’t feel like I’ve been stuck inside a dishwasher than jammed into a light socket, over and over again? I mean at some point this pull and warp of time is going to go back to background noise, yes??

Through the mess I did manage to find time to read not as much as the last two months but reading any amount these days is a win.


Stain by A.G. Howards

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Stain

I started the month off right! This was fantastic in every way. I haven’t read anything by this author and I didn’t really know what to expect from this story. I was pleasantly surprised! If you love fairytales but want that originality this is for you. It’s been such a long time since I’ve read a great fairytale like story and I just need more. All the characters were distinct and interesting. I honestly can’t recommend this enough!


Over the Moon: novelization by Wendy Wan-Long Shang

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Over the Moon: The Novelization

I must confess I haven’t seen the movie. I just haven’t been in a place to want to watch anything so instead I picked up the novelization. Now, I bet the movie is 100x better and is better format for this story because it really doesn’t work here. It’s just the movie in a novel format as appose to a book being written and flushing out bits of the story which would have honestly made this better. That being said this story is wonderful, bittersweet but wonderful. All the hall markings of a classic.


The Empress of Salt & Fortune by Nghi Vo   

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
The Empress of Salt and Fortune (The Singing Hills Cycle, #1)

This was interesting and refreshing but too short lol. That’s always my problem with short stories is that they’re never long enough. I can’t wait for the sequel I already have it on hold on the library app. Short stories are hard to talk about because I don’t want to accidentally spoil something. Our main character is being told a story that’s been kept secret for years until now. That’s vague as hell but I promise it’s more interesting than that lol. This sets up things for the book to come and it’s going to be soooo good I just know it!


The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by Victoria Schwab 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

All right this is going to get me banned from the community but I didn’t love this story. There were some great lines but overall, Addie was forgettable. My prediction didn’t come true which is heartbreaking. This story is interesting I loved Henry and his story. I connected more to his struggles and his story as its very similar to mine. However Addie never came off the page. Victoria Schwab is really good at creating characters and getting you to root for them and understand them however I didn’t get that with Addie. I understand her motivation but her personality was missing.


A Universe of Wishes edited by Dhonielle Clayton  

Rating: 5 out of 5.
A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology
Isn’t this cover GORGEOUS!

Out December 8. This anthology was FANTASTIC! I’ll break down the individual stories below. All together this is my new favorite anthology. There were so many interesting stories and characters that were executed perfectly in such a short amount of time. I enjoyed most of these stories which is pretty unheard of for me. They all share that ache and urge for more and the risks they are willing to take to make it come true. These were achingly beautiful stories that I think everyone should read.

  • A Universe of Wishes by Tara Sim    5 stars

This story sets the tone for this whole book and it set it off with a bang. The lengths one would go to ask for a wish. The magic of it all isn’t even magic.

  • The Silk Blade by Natalie C. Parker   3 stars

If the bachelor and bachelorette had to fight one another with knives in order to gain the rose, basically. This would be their story. I would actually watch those shows if this was the case.

  • The Scarlet Woman a Gemma Doyle Story by Libba Bray  3 stars

Ah,,, It’s been well over a decade since I read this series and it hurts to be back with these characters. Also this felt very Diviners with the occult in NY. This story can still be read even if you haven’t read the Gemma Doyle series because this is a set up for a continuation. However, there will be things that will go over your head and spoil the ending of The Sweet Far Thing , be aware of that.

  • Cristal y Ceniza by Anna- Marie McLemore  5 stars

My favorite Cinderella retelling by far. This was exceptionally written and I need it to be a full length novel. This turns so many tropes on its head. I need more diverse retellings asap!

  • Liberia by Kwame Mbalia  4 stars

This is the first science fiction story. We are introduced to our character who is trying to preserve a garden while transporting it to their planet. This story builds on itself and the preservation of several generation’s hard work.

  • A Royal Affair by V.E. Schwab 

I’m going to be real honest, I skipped over this. I don’t like this series anymore. In fact I forgot I read it. I just don’t care for these characters or the world.

  • The Take back Tango by Rebecca Roanhorse  5 stars

National Treasure meets Ocean’s 11 but make it watchable. LOL But seriously if you’ve ever wanted to see all those artifacts put back in their country with sarcastic characters and spies. This is the story for you. This is another I need a Full length novel, asap. Thnx.

  • Dream & Dare by Nic Stone  5 stars

This was a beautiful story about finding yourself, love, and daring to do that despite others & society. It’s also a very poignant story considering how short the stories are to convey how important it is that only you can define who you are.

  • Wish by Jenni Balch 2 stars

Umm, this was my least favorite of the bunch. I remember nothing but a teen science girl finding a way to open up a jinn bottle.

  • The Weight by Dhonielle Clayton  5 stars

LOVED this story! This is such an interesting story concept. I loved how we get dual POV’s which is critical to this story. I don’t want to spoil but dang did this speak to my insecurities lol

  • Unmoor by Mark Oshiro  3 stars

We’ve all been here. You want to erase all existence of your cheating ex from your memories. But remember that old adage “be careful what you wish for”. This is one of the sadder stories.

  • The Coldest Spot in the Universe by Samira Ahmed 5 stars

This one is my favorite. Many come close but this one punched me in the face. I loved the use of juxtaposition with our two characters. It’s bittersweet but hopeful given our current Climate Change efforts or lack thereof. Another sad story but with a gleam in the darkness.

  • The Beginning of Monsters by Tessa Gratton  2 stars

This one just confused me which was frustrating. I liked the concept just not the execution. This has major Tim Burton aesthetic.

  • Longer than Threads of Time by Zoraida Córdova  5 stars

Fantastic! I need to read more of her books! I love her take on Rapunzel and I believe this is set in the same world as her Bruja series.

  • Habibi by Tochi Onyebuchi  5 stars

We end this book on a painful resounding sound that will forever reverberate in my soul. This was so damn hard to read yet I couldn’t look away. Hope is always the last to leave.

Many Thanks to Random House and Netgalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review.


Blood Heir by Amélia Wen Zhao 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Blood Heir (Blood Heir Trilogy, #1)

This was a reread and upon a second look I didn’t love it as much. I think it has to do with when I read it for the first time and how much it reminded me of some of my other favorites like Shadow & Bone and the love interest reminded me of Hook from Once A Upon A Time television show. I do still plan on reading the sequel because I’m curious to see where this story goes.


Coming up this December

I plan to catch up with all my ARC’s. Most come out in January with the exception of 2. I’m usually good at reading them quickly after getting them but my stress levels are at an all time high and I can’t focus for anything.

I also want to read some Christmas themed books. I don’t think I ever have so I’m really excited about that. The first is The Nutcracker and the Mouse- King by E.T.A Hoffman. I used to watch the animated movie when I was a kid. Murder for Christmas by Francis Duncan, nothing like a cozy murder mystery to get into the Christmas season lol

And if I have time or energy I would like to read all the books I’ve not gotten to. Such as, The Sword of Kaigen by M.L. Wang, A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee, The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard, Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells.

Or maybe I’ll finally read the rest of the books I have left of Jane Austen.

Either way I hope we all have wonderful holiday season even if its unlike any we’ve had before.

Additional news: I have a fun reader project planned for next year that will be revealed in a couple of weeks!! I’m having blast creating it and I hope its well received! 🙂

What books are you reading for December?

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Reading Challenge L-P

The Alphabet Reading Challenge post for L, M, N, O, P. We aren’t to the hard to find letters just yet.


The Lady or the Tiger by Frank R. Stockton

The Lady, or the Tiger? - Kindle edition by Stockton, Frank R. . Mystery,  Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is a very short story that leaves an ambiguous ending for the reader to decide how this story ends. After sitting with this story for many months my answer has changed for how I perceived this story to end. Originally, I claimed she fed him to the tiger but, now I think it’s written in a way to lean into that direction. It heavily focuses on her jealousy of the woman who’s behind the door and she is the daughter of a barbaric king.


Magic of Writing Creating Stories that Fly by Gail Carson Levine

Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly: Levine, Gail Carson:  9780060519612: Amazon.com: Books

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

This is an interactive book to help teenagers or newbies in writing. It has tips and tricks with prompts and antecedents of her own writing. This is a great place to start or even for those getting back into the practice to help with warm-ups with a look at basics.


Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor, #1)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This was a fun Middle Grade adventure. I never knew where this story was going or what would happen next which I love a ton about middle grade. There’s just a whimsy that you can’t find anywhere else. I loved the characters and the strange world. I look forward to the rest of the series.    


The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso

The Obsidian Tower (Rooks and Ruin, #1)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Did you ever run in circles as a kid and then immediately regret it?

That’s how reading this felt like. Round & round the same conversations with the same people in the same room. It was dizzying to say the least and not at all entertaining. Characters had potential but they couldn’t even save this.


Pursuing Madness by Stacey Rourke

Pursuing Madness (Unfortunate Soul Chronicles, #3)

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

The last in the Unfortunate Soul Chronicles & it left on a disappointing note. The resolution of our main characters happens off the page ??? Isn’t the whole point of a story is to be on page. This is the third book & every book has a different main character but all 3 are introduced in the first book. I’m just confused & disheartened to end the story this way. This series had so much potential because they were interesting and entertaining until the end.   

Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments!

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Reading Challenge G-K

This one focuses on G, H, I , J, K


The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima

The Gray Wolf Throne (Seven Realms, #3)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Book 3 of the seven realms series. There was so much pay off in this book. I really love and adore this series and I’m glad we’re finally seeing things come together.  It was thrilling. I can’t talk in details because spoilers. So just go read this series if you haven’t yet.


House of Dragons by Jessica Cluess

House of Dragons (House of Dragons, #1)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A new series with Dragons! Our main characters are humans who are bonded to a dragon. Only households of the elites have access to dragon eggs and are thus given a dragon of their own. The story starts with the day people will be chosen to compete for Emperor/ Empress  but things don’t’ go according to plan, of course. Our cast of 5 characters are so messy and it was a delight to read about them. Some are more memorable than others but they all had distinct voices & desires which makes it easy to distinguish between them. I believe this is a duology so I’m interested regardless but even more so to see how this story wraps up, what with that ending. There is definitely one character that will enrage you. If you are at all interested in this I highly recommend. It’s a big book but its quick paced and switching amongst five POV’s kind of helps. The world building for the lore doesn’t happen until the last third of the book. I believe that the next book will dive more into that.   


Into the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson

Into the Bright Unknown (The Gold Seer Trilogy, #3)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is the conclusion to the Gold Seer series following a girl who can sense the presence of gold. Set during the Gold Rush where this extraordinary power is helpful but in the wrong hands a curse. There is way more world building in the case of the magical element than in all the other books. For most of the series the magical element is very minimum. Our Main character Lee doesn’t know much about her gift or if there are even other’s out there like her. More light is shed on this in this book. I really hope we get more of this world with different characters and their different gifts & time periods. The possibilities are endless.  


The Jump Rope Rhyme by Jo Walton

Nevertheless, She Persisted: Flash Fiction Project

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Flash fiction in Nevertheless, She Persisted, a collection of very short accounts of times when someone persisted in their pursuit regardless of how daunting or how many obstacles obstruct their way. In the face of hardships they hold the line or in some cases pave the way for others to get an opportunity. In this particular story is told through rhyme hence the name.


The King of Crows by Libba Bray

The King of Crows (The Diviners, #4)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The final book in the Diviner series and I have to say I was disappointed. All the books leading up were wonderfully spooky & just fantastic. I was prepared for the worst (best) endings having read other series by this author and knowing what she is capable of (pain, lots of heartache) However that isn’t what I recieved in the way that I was hoping for. (Who doesn’t wish for painful heartache when reading??) This didn’t go out in a BRUTAL way but with a whimper. This was a BIG, Long Yawn. It’s been over half a year but I recall next to nothing about this last book. Maybe it’s for the best. It was unremarkable for such a looong book.

Book Blog, Book Talk, Reading Challenge, Review

ABC Reading Challenge “D, E, F”

Going forward these will be grouped together as these are short snippet reviews.


A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn

A Dangerous Collaboration (Veronica Speedwell, #4)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Agatha Christie meets Edgar Allen Poe in the fourth installment to the Veronica Speedwell Series.

This is an adult mystery historical series that takes place in Victorian London where our main characters solve crime as a side hobby.

Technically you can read this in any order but I HIGHLY recommend you read all of them to really appreciate the slow burn element.

I absolutely adore these characters and seeing them on the outskirts of each other and learning to navigate that they may indeed actually have feelings all the while denying it!!!

In this book we see more of Stoker’s oldest brother and why he is the way he is today. It was nice to get away from Veronica’s estranged highly public family drama and delve into a spooky atmospheric mystery.

This was an incredible ride. I think this might be my favorite tied with the first book. It’s darker and I really really loved it.

We also get a confession that has nothing to do with a murder.

I have read the fifth book and my review can be found at this link

We are getting at least two more books but I will take a hundred please and thank you


Empire of Dreams by Rae Carson

The Empire of Dreams (Fire and Thorns, #4)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I really enjoyed being back with in this world with these characters. I will say I went in thinking this was going to be a spin off series, not a standalone. I also for some reason was under the impression that the other formed kingdoms, or Queendom’s would feature more prominently. I don’t know why I thought this.

Too many people slept on this series. The original trilogy centered around religion, magic and politics. This series masterly crafts amazing character development and has the MOST amazing relationship to ever exist, between a straight couple. It deals with sex and birth control in a fantasy world. Its practically unheard of in most books. All I’m saying is pick up Girl of Fire and Thorns.

Now back to Empire of Dreams, I adore Red. We finally see where she comes from and how she ended up where she did when Elisa finds her. Her backstory is heartbreaking and sometimes hard to read. She deals with PTSD, which in the book is called soldier’s sickness.

I liked Rosario and Red’s sibling relationship. There is no romance in this story which I found refreshing but I know that’s not everyone’s feelings. The message of love in this story wasn’t romantic it was about the bonds of family. They don’t have a traditional looking family which is all more the realistic and fantastic to see depicted.

My only complaints are small like some predictability, and the rushed ending. I would have loved more flashbacks or time spent with Elisa and Hector and their family times.

Overall, I think if you’re a fan of the series and you’ve always been curious as to Red’s story pick this up. I definitely think it’s important to read the series first to better understand things.


Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy #1)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was fantastic and just what I needed. The world building is amazing just such wonderful unique magic system. I really liked the characters and their interactions. My only complaint is the made up curse words. I just personally really hate that.

Links to the previous Reading Challenge Posts:

The first Reading Challenge Post

Reading Challenge “B”

ABC Reading Challenge “C”