Top 5 Things I’m Enjoying While in Isolation

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another Top 5 Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Shanah at the Bionic Book Worm. I’ve been in isolation for 24 days, all by myself since I live alone. Well. I guess not totally alone, because I do have two cats, both of whom are thrilled that I am home. But this has been tough, and I’m glad to have a chance to reflect on things that I’m enjoying.

Books

Of course, I could not start a list of things I’m enjoying without acknowledging books. They are my solace. I’ve revisited old favorites and I’m discovering new. And while I’m scheduling my days as such that I don’t exactly have a ton more time to read, I am reading more and I am enjoying the time very much.

Daily Phone Calls to my Family

I call my mom about three times a day, and it’s helping so much. Even with calling that much, we always have tons to talk about, and it really helps my mood.

Exercise

It’s killing me that I cannot get to the gym. I’ve been working so hard lifting weights the past couple years, and now I’m going to lose all the muscles I’ve built. But, I bought weights for home and I’m on YouTube all the time looking for new workouts. I really look forward to working out every morning (this morning not included!) and it helps my mood and focus a ton.

Writing

All year, I have been dying for more time to write, and now I have it. I started by scheduling two hours a day to write, but I’m finding that I’m spending a ton more time because I’m loving it so much. I was writing the sequel to my unpublished book, but an author suggested I stop and write something else. Luckily, I had another book lined up, so now I’m writing about pirates, a very old love, and I’m having so much fun. Writing is awesome!

The Untamed

I’m almost done with the Netflix show The Untamed, which makes me sad, but I plan to start it over once I’m done. It’s so good and so complicated that I missed a ton of stuff at the beginning. And while I’m dragging my feet on getting to the end because I don’t want it to end, it makes me so very happy when I watch it. It’s got what I love: men being vulnerable and open with other men, and I love each and every squishy moment. It’s fantastic.

Those are just five things that I’m enjoying while in isolation. Runner’s up include my cats, coffee, Phantom of the Opera and other musicals, and the internet.

What are some of the things you’re enjoying in isolation?

The Watchmaker’s Daughter by C.J. Archer

Title: The Watchmaker’s Daugther

Author: C.J. Archer

Genre: fantasy, historical fiction

Source: library (Hoopla)

Publication Date: June 28, 2016

India Steel’s life has taken a turn for the worse. Her father is dead, her fickle fiancee has dumped her and stolen her watchmaking shop, and she’s about to be kicked out of the attic room she’s been staying in. Worse, no one will employ her, despite the fact her father has been training her for yeas. In fact, the other watchmakers seem frightened of her, for reasons she cannot fathom.

Then, a chance meeting with the mysterious Matthew Glass changes her luck. Glass is looking for a watchmaker he met in America five years ago. He hires India to help him find the mysterious Chronos. India is thrilled, until her suspicions are aroused by a newspaper article about the Dark Rider, an American outlaw who’s in London. Has India thrown her lot in with an outlaw? Or is there more to this story than appears. And what is so special about the watch Glass wants fixed, one that glows purple and seems to revive him of a mysterious illness?

This is a very fun read. India is a great heroine. She’s strong and smart and, at the same time, awkward and unsure of her place in the world. I like her confidence in her watchmaking skills and her curiosity about the world. She’s outspoken without being brash or rude, and stands up for herself without hesitation.

Matthew Glass was a great character, too. He’s mysterious and funny. You want to know more about him just as much as India does, and can get frustrated by his secretiveness. But is chemistry with India is great and I loved when he’d flirt with her, leaving her bewildered as to what was going on. There were several very heated scenes that left me wanting more.

I think that, overall, this was a good introduction to this word. The overarching mystery isn’t solved and will continue into the next book, but there are smaller mysteries that are unveiled, mostly the ones that would have prevented a further relationship between India and Glass’s gang. I loved all the characters and how much they cared for each other and Glass. I liked that India was an open, warmhearted woman and Glass was, too. He has a gruff exterior, but a heart of gold.

I would definitely recommend this book. It’s not particularly deep nor complicated, but it’s entertaining with a great cast of characters. It’s the perfect book for these troubled times.

Review: King of Plagues by Jonathan Maberry

Title: King of Plagues

Author: Jonathan Maberry

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Genre: thriller, plagues, action, suspense, adult

Source: shelf

Publication Date: 2011

After a catastrophic bombing of a London hospital, Joe Ledger comes out of his grief vacation to investigate. It is quickly determined that the bombing is the work of the Seven Kings, a shadowy organization that led by the Goddess , whose purpose is to spread discord around the world. Now, they have released a weaponized version of the Ten Plagues of Egypt, and the Department of Military Science must scramble all their resources to take them down.

I cannot believe I almost got rid of this book. I did a massive unhaul last year, and I almost got rid of this book, and that was ridiculous. I love this book. It’s so incredibly good. Jonathan Maberry is such a good writer.

Let’s start with Joe Ledger. Joe is a smart ass, confident, a little arrogant, He’s very good at his job, which is to lead Echo Team, a group of elite men and women who fight all the strange stuff the world puts out. What I love about Joe is that he’s deeply vulnerable, not afraid to admit when he’s scared or upset or, in this book, grieving. He’s a very real character and I couldn’t love him more.

The Seven Kings organization is terrifying. We’re brought into it through Sebastian Gault, one of the villains in the first novel, Patient Zero. Here, Gault is damaged, bruised, and reeling and oh so very ready to take revenge on the world. He’s quickly drawn into the mystique of the Seven Kings and falls into adoring worship of the Goddess, a woman named Eris.

And then there’s my favorite character, Toys. Toys is Gault’s assistant, the power behind the throne, which is a trope I love. He’s ruthless and heartless, but inconveniently starts growing something like a conscious during this book and becomes conflicted. He alone can see that the Goddess is just an aging woman who wants to destroy for destruction sake, but he can’t break the bonds he has with Gault.

The book is a very fast read. Maberry writes incredibly short chapters that entice you to keep reading, and I tore through it in a couple of days. I thought that right now this book would be too heavy, but it turns out to be just what I needed: an action packed, suspenseful thriller with great characters and a twisting plot that kept me reading.

If you like action, suspense thrillers with great character, yes, read this book. But, before you read this, go back to where it all started with Patient Zero.

WWW Wednesday April 1, 2020

Hey y’all. It’s Wednesday, and I am down in the dumps. I was watching the news last night and, out of nowhere, they announced that the schools in my county are closed for the rest of the year. Yes, we’re still doing distance learning and, yes, I’ll see at least some of my kids through that on my computer screen, but that’s it. No more going to school. In addition to being upset about that, I’m also upset about the way it was handled. They should have told the teachers and staff before it was announced on the news. I’m really angry about the way I found out. Also, I was/am trying to find a job closer to my parents for next year. If I succeed, I’ll never see my students in person again. I’ll never see my former students in person again. I’ll never get to say goodbye.

So, yeah. I’m a little down right now. But, onto the post.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Each week, participants are asked three questions:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

Right now, I’m reading 3 books, but WordPress is acting up again, so I can’t post all three pictures. I’m reading Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuinston, a reread to get me through this difficult time. I’m also reading The Watchmaker’s Daughter by C.J. Archer, an author I discovered last year who quickly became a favorite. Finally, I’m reading Joe Ledger: Special Ops by Joanthan Maberry, one of four Joe Ledger books I have bought this last week. This one is a collection of short stories set among the novels.

I just finished two books: The King of Plagues by Jonathan Maberry and Starcrossed by Allie Therin. I loved both books with the passion of a thousand fiery suns. I actually reread The King of Plagues because I think there’s a mistake in it and I’ve been wanting to ask the author about it since the book came out in 2011. Now that he’s doing weekly Q&As on Facebook, I figured this was the time.

Honestly, I have no idea. Gone Girl is on top of my TBR pile, but I don’t know if I’ll read that or something else. I do have three more Joe Ledger books coming, so it might be one of those.

What are you reading this week?

Top 5 Tuesday: Authors U to Z

Can you believe it’s the last day of the month? March has lasted about five years. But, it’s finally over and it’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another Top 5 Tuesday. Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah at the Bionic Book Worm. This week’s topic is authors U to Z.

I’m currently writing with a cat on my lap, so I’m just going to hop over to GoodReads and choose authors from my read list.

U – nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero

V -In this time of trouble and strife, it seems only fitting to put Brian K. Vaughn, author of Y: The Last Man which is a graphic novel about a plague that wipes out all men on Earth save one. I tore through this series when I discovered it and, one day, would like to own it and reread.

W – This is really hard, because I have a lot of W authors. I’m going to chose two: Patricia C. Wrede author of Dealing with Dragons and Brian Wood author of The DMZ. Both books were extremely engrossing. I remember reading Dealing with Dragons in middle school for some awards program and not being able to put it down. I have a vivid memory of sitting in History class, nose buried in the book, ignoring everything around me. The DMZ I discovered at Comic Con. I bought one issue then went back for ten more after ripping through it. I loved it so much and right now, I’m regretting unhauling it.

X– Nope

Y– The only thing I have for Y is Rick Yancey author of The 5th Wave. I enjoyed the book well enough to buy the second, but didn’t want to pay for the hardcover of the third and by the time it was in paperback, I’d forgotten about the other two.

Z There can only be on author for Z and that’s Timothy Zahn, the author who reignited my passion for Star Wars and sent it to new heights. I was in English class in middle school with nothing to read. Gershwin, a friend, passed me the hardcover of Heir to the Empire to read. I opened it and was done. It was like he’d given me drugs: I couldn’t think for the rest of the day and I was ruined for life. I still love that book and have my original copy, although it’s falling apart because I’ve read it so many times. It’s my Star Wars canon and always will be.

And that’s my literary life from A to Z! What a fun month (for this challenge, I mean. Not so much for real life). Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I had fun putting it together. And thanks, Shanah, for the fun challenge!

Review: Starcrossed by Allie Therin

Title: Starcrossed (Magic in Manhattan #2)

Author: Allie Therin

Publisher: Carina Press

Genre: m/m historical romance, paranormal romance

Source: NetGalley

Publication Date: May 18, 2020

Arthur Kenzie has devoted his life to procuring and protecting supernatural relics from those who would misuse them. But now, his life has a new purpose: loving Rory Brodigan, the cranky and irascible psycometric with phenomenal powers that he doesn’t understand. Rory love Arthur, but he can’t help be confront the truth of their disparate social status and despair over their relationship in the long term

Now, a new relic threatens New York and the safety of not only Rory, but Arthur and his family. Rory and Arthur must use every bit of magic at their disposal to counter the new threat, where old enemies become uneasy allies and Rory and Arthur’s love is put to the text.

I absolutely adored this book! It was wonderful from start to finish. Like last book, Arthur’s uprightness, honor, and love bowl me over. I love a man who is protective of his loved ones while being sensitive and honorable at the same time. However, I must admit, I wanted to shake him a few times. There’s a point where honor begins working against happiness, and he hit it. But even that was fun to read. I just love him.

My love for Rory is no less. Quick to anger, quick to defend himself, and overly humble at times, he’s just easy to relate to. I love his explosive temper and the way he’s willing to fight for himself and his loved ones. I also like that, although he’s afraid of his power, he’s curious about it, too, and can’t help but explore it. His heart is in the right place and he loves and cares for others so much. He’s a perfect match for Arthur.

The plot was intriguing as well. There’s a powerful new relic in town. People are dying, magic is being used to hide the perpetrators, and Arthur seems to be the target. Or is he? I loved the twists and turns the book took, and the ending was very exciting.

The strength of this book is the characters. All of them are well done and intriguing in their own right. I would happily read a book about Jade and Zhang. I would also really like to read about Arthur’s adventures prior to meeting Rory, during the war. Everything sounds so intriguing. I love this book.

I definitely recommend this book and series. It’s especially good for people new to the genre. It’s sexy without being overly explicit, and focuses more on romance and intimacy than sex. The characters are wonderful and the plot is action packed. Get Starcrossed immediately when it comes out; I know I will!

Weekly Wrap-Up March 29, 2020

What a week. I mean, not that I did a lot or anything, but it still feels like it was a busy week. I’ve been really diligent about trying to keep myself busy and focused during my self-isolation. I vlog every day and post it on YouTube; not many people are watching, but it makes me feel less alone, so I’ll keep doing it. I exercise every morning, which helps keep my mood stable. I watch a lot of YouTube, but not as much Netflix and Disney+ as I was expecting. Maybe that will increase as time goes by. I also go for a walk every afternoon and I’m finally getting back into writing every day. That’s been the hardest part.

Overall, my mood’s been remarkably stable during this time. I think had I not done all that therapy over the summer, I’d be in a much darker place. For many reasons, I’m grateful I did that, and this is one of them.

I’m finally getting on track with reading and blogging again. I finished two or three books this week and have a bunch more to tackle. Of course, that’s not stopping me from ordering books to read as well. I’ve never had a TBR this big and I’m not helping myself by ignoring it to read other books. But, whatever; these are trying times.

Also, I cannot get WordPRess to work for me, so I won’t be posting my links to last week or what I’m doing next week. Is anyone else having trouble with WordPress?