WWW Wednesday July 31

Hi everyone! It’s been a bit longer than I was intending. Last week, I had my dream vacation of kayaking with killer whales up in British Columbia. I first read about it when I was in high school and when the company I had targeted to do it through added a tour called “Whales, Wilderness, and Glamping”, I knew it was time to bite the bullet. I meant to get back to my regular posting schedule on Sunday, but, honestly, the trip wiped me out and I am exhausted. All I want to do is sit on my couch and watch YouTube videos. I’m almost too tired to read.

However, I want to try and get back to some semblance of normalcy, so, since it’s Wednesday, I’d figure I’d dive back in.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Each week, you answer three questions:

What are you reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll. I’ve kept a bullet journal for about two years now, but have been a little burned out on it lately. I thought it might help to go back to the basics and read about the how and why from the creator himself.

I’m also reading Fledgling by Molly Harper. I requested the eARC from NetGalley, not realizing that it’s the second in a series. I do plan to go back and read the first, but I’m not lost because there’s a lot of exposition and backstory that keeps me afloat. It’s a cute story about a girl who was born into a non-magical family only to discover that she has magic. She’s sent to an exclusive finishing school for girls with magic and shenanigans happen. I’m really enjoying it.

The most recent book I finished was Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston, which I was listening to on audio. I’m not sure audio format was the best way for me to digest the story, because I kept forgetting minor characters, but I really enjoyed the story a lot. I can’t wait for the next book.

I also read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert because my Kindle broke while I was in Canada and I lost everything I had brought to read. Luckily, my B&B had a little library and this book was on the shelf. I can’t say I would have ever read it had I not been desperate, but I enjoyed it. It didn’t change my life and I definitely don’t want to follow her journey across the world, but it was an interesting read.

On the plane to Canada, I finished the book Jack of Thorn: Inheritance by Amelia Faulkner, which was an eARC from NetGalley. I really liked this book. One of the characters, Quentin, was just so interesting. Weird and unearthly, but interesting. I’ll post my review soon.

So, technically, I’m almost done with All the Better Part of Me by Molly Ringle, but it was lost in the Great Kindle Disaster of 2019. What happened was my water bottle came open in my purse and soaked my Kindle. It has since dried out and rebooted and works. I have all my books, except anything I transferred over to my Kindle via the cable. I also lost all my collections. The publisher sent me this book directly because she accidentally deleted my request but wanted me to read it. So, I need to redownload it and then swipe until I get to where I was. But, it’s an excellent book, so I will definitely do that. When I have some energy.

I also am going to read A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce, which is a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin and Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, because I love her books.

How is your week going? Read anything good while I was gone? Drop me a comment below and let me know!

Review: Let’s Talk About Love

Title: Let’s Talk About Love

Author: Claire Kann

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Format: Hardcover

Length: 304 pages

Publication Date: January 23, 2018

When Alice’s girlfriend breaks up with her, Alice is understandably upset. Not necessarily because she misses her girlfriend, but because of the hurtful things her ex said when they broke up, all centering on Alice’s lack of interest in sex. Margot takes Alice’s asexuality as a personal affront instead of seeing that Alice can love her without sexual desire. Determined to protect herself, Alice decides not to date again, until she meets mega cutie Takumi at the library where she works. The two of them are soon inseparable, which is great because her longtime friendship with BFFs Feenie and Ryan is crumbling before her eyes. Do she and Takumi have a future together as more than just friends? Or will her sexuality get in the way of something wonderful?

This book was just delightful. Alice is so adorable. She’s full of joy and happiness and has a wonderful zest for all things cute. I love that she’s nerdy and obsessed with TV and books. I love her Cutie Code, which is how she quantifies the world. I love her love for her friends and how open-hearted she is. Her relationship with Takumi was so natural and real. They came together in a very realistic way. I totally identified with Alice being blown over by his beauty and they way she beat herself up over every interaction until they became friends.

It was also very interesting to read about a biromantic asexual character. I thought all aspects of her sexuality were very well done. I liked the exploration and explanation of her asexuality, too, and how she grows into herself and becomes confident in it during the novel. It was amazing growth and it was lovely to read.

Review: Past Perfect Life

Title: Past Perfect Life

Author: Elizabeth Eulberg

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 336

Publication Date: July 9, 2019

VERY SLIGHT SPOILERS IN THE REVIEW

Ally Smith has the perfect life. She and her father are insanely close and have a million rituals that make her days feel rich and full. She’s at the top of her class and hoping to get the scholarships she needs to go to college. She’s “in” with the Gleasons, the town royalty, and Neil, her longtime crush, seems like he may be asking her out soon. The only problem is her college applications, which were rejected because of her social security card, but that will be an easy fix, right? Everything is great until the FBI shows up at her house and turns Ally’s world upside down. Turns out, she’s not who she thinks she is and has been a missing person for fifteen years. Now, as her life comes crumbling around her, she longs for her perfect past in the face of an uncertain future.

I really liked this book. The characters were engaging, the plot was well done, and I love a good missing persons story. I like how the narrative was sympathetic to everyone involved. The dad wasn’t a villain, just a thoughtless man who made a terrible decision. The long suffering mother was overbearing, but understandable in her actions. She’d spend 15 years without her daughter and was going overboard to make up for lost time. The only place I was afraid I’d get a cardboard cutout was with the younger sister, but even she was quickly revealed to be a human being in pain and not a one-dimensional stereotype. 

I liked Ally’s support system in Wisconsin. The Gleasons were a close-knit family who’d taken in Ally and her father and were understandably dismayed when the truth was revealed. I liked how they stayed by her side and supported her no matter what. In other books of a similar nature, characters didn’t have that support system and it was always frustrating to see them so lost. Ally gets lost and depressed, but she always has someone to turn to.

I admit, I was a little iffy on the ending. I liked it, but it didn’t quite ring true to me. I think I would have preferred something more realistic and involving therapy for everyone involved. However, the whole book has a little bit of a fairy tale feel to it, so the ending fits that narrative perfectly.

Overall, this is a strong book with good characters. It makes you think about how easily something like this could happen and it makes you feel for all parties involved.

Review: A Case of Possession

Title: A Case of Possession (A Charm of Magpies book 2)

Author: K.J. Charles

Publisher: KJC Books (formerly published by Samhain)

Format: ebook

Pages: 211

London is besieged by a plague of giant rats. Lucien Vaudrey, Lord Crane, is being blackmailed by an old friend who has the indecency of turning up dead when Crane goes to confront him. Stephen Day is under watch by his colleagues who suspect him of being a warlock due to his sudden increased power. Poor Stephen finds he can’t explain the reason, since that reason is the man sharing his bed, a man whose bloodline is full of old power that gets transferred to Stephen when they’re intimate. And they are, quite frequently, when Stephen isn’t working himself to death, much to Lucien’s dismay. With all eyes on them, Stephen and Lucien find themselves and their relationship in a precarious position and each is afraid the other will decide that it’s time to call it quits.

While not my favorite of the three Charm of Magpies books, this one does have my favorite part in the whole series. KJ Charles is brilliant when it comes to getting emotionally reserved men proclaim their love in the most romantic and realistic ways. So, despite my discomfort in parts of this book, it has these beautiful hidden gems.

I really do like this book, but it’s dark and a little disgusting. If you ever wanted to know about the giant rat of Sumatra that Arthur Conan Doyle teased in one of the Sherlock Holmes stories, you get it here (just without Holmes). The only problem is, giant magical rats are kind of disgusting and scary to read about. So, that made me uncomfortable.

I did love getting to know Lucien’s friends from China. They weren’t the best people, but they are interesting and his friendship with Leonora Hart is wonderful. I’d read a whole book about her and her life. Her husband wasn’t great, and she’s morally compromised, but she’s interesting and strong and a wonderful character.

The relationship between Lucien and Stephen is really the core of the book, and I love it. The sex is scorching, the banter is fun, and their softer scenes are romantic. You really feel that these are two men who are in love without compromising who they are. They help each other grow and complement each other wonderfully.

Good story, great plot, scary parts, and sexy parts. What more could you ask for in a book?

WWW Wednesday June 17

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Each week, you answer three questions:

What are you reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading Dark Side of the Moon by Sherrilyn Kenyon, which is the 9th novel in her Dark-Hunter series. I’ve only ever read one Dark-Hunter book before, but I thought I’d give it another chance because I wanted a quick, easy read before my trip next week. The book is okay, but the writing style doesn’t quite flow easily. I’m struggling through some of the scenes, especially when she switches POVs between paragraphs with no warning.

Because I’m struggling so much, I decided to start Jack of Thorns by Amelia Faulkner, which is an eARC I got from NetGalley. It’s about a drug addict Laurence who has future sight and during an overdose has a vision about a man. Fast forward three years and he runs into that man, an Earl from England. There’s also a stalker ex-boyfriend thrown into the mix. Once again, the writing style isn’t quite gelling with me, but that may have been because I was exhausted last night when I started reading. It’s interesting and I look forward to seeing how it’ll unfold.

I’m also listening to Heart of Iron by Ashely Poston, which I’m really enjoying. I can’t listen to it as much as I’d like, since I’m totally fried after therapy all day and can’t concentrate on my drive home, but I’m liking all the characters and the plot and the little romance that’s going on.

A Case of Possession by KJ Charles was a bit of a struggle to read. I really love the characters, but there are giant, murderous rats in this and I was a little squicked. But it did have a couple of very romantic scenes and what may be my favorite line ever, so it was worth it.

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann was utterly charming. The main character, Alice, is just a delight and so joyful. I would love to be more like her.

On my trip, I plan to read Flight of Magpies by KJ Charles and Fledgling by Molly Harper. I just realized that Fledgling is the second in the series (it didn’t say that on NetGalley, and I wish it had… or maybe it did and I just missed it), so I might buy the first and read that. We’ll see. I’m also going to read All The Better Parts of Me by Molly Ringle, which is also an ARC. I was actually declined for that one, but the publisher contacted me and said it was an accident and sent it to me personally, which is just so cool! I guess it pays to have a good rating on NetGalley. Can you review a book you haven’t been approved for on NetGalley?

That’s my reading week. What are you reading this week? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Top 5 Tuesday

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah at the Bionic Book Worm. Each week, she gives a topic and participants get to answer.  This week’s topic is K, L, M, N, O!

K is for King of Fools by Amanda Foody. The sequel to Ace of Shades really lets Enne Salta come into her own as she creates her own girl gang that’s just as powerful as any other gang in the city, but on Enne’s terms. There’s a lot of politics and political maneuvering in it, and I just loved it.

I’ve never met a Cat Sebastian novel I didn’t like, but this one is probably one of my favorites. The Earl of Radnor is convinced he’s mad when he’s just brilliant and thinks differently from everyone else. Georgie Turner is a swindler on the run and together they find a love they’d never thought they’d deserve. It’s beautiful.

Millennium Approaches by Tony Kushner is probably the most beautifully written play I’ve ever seen and read. It’s poetry in the guise of prose and when I first saw and read it, it blew me away. My college did a production of it and while I only got to see it once, I was in a play in the next theater and spent my moment’s offstage with my ear pressed to the theater door so I could drink in the beauty. It truly is magical.

Northanger Abbey is one of my favorite Jane Austen novels. I love the lighthearted air of it. I so identify with Catherine Morland and her love of novels and the way she lets her imagination get run away with her. And Henry Tilney is just a delight. There’s just something about his humor and his manner that really gets to me. I love him so much.

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz is a favorite of mine. I’d never read anything by Koontz when he was speaking at a panel I was at during Comic Con. I don’t think I was even there for that panel, but a following one, but when Koontz started talking about how he started writing Odd Thomas, it just sounded magical. I knew that the character was special and the book had to be too. And it really is. Odd is an amazing character who’s been through a ton of trauma and come out with a deep sense of humility and openness to the world that’s wonderful to read. I love this book.

Have you read any of the books on my list? What did you think of them?

Review: Call it What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

Title: Call it What You Want

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Pages: 384

Publication Date: June 25, 2019

Format:: Hardcover

Rob, a popular lacrosse player, used to be at the top of the world until his dad was caught embezzling funds from half the town. Now, he’s a social outcast. To top it off, his father had tried to commit suicide and failed, leaving Rob and his mother struggling to take care of him.

Maegan is an overachiever with the perfect life, until, in a fit of insecurity, she tried to cheat on the SATs, invalidating everyone’s score. Now the subject of ridicule and anger, she isolates herself. Her troubles are added to when her older sister comes home from college pregnant, yet another burden Maegan must shoulder.

When Maegen and Rob are partnered in calculus, neither one is happy, until they form a connection. However, that connection is threatened when Rob unintentionally comes across some money that doesn’t belong to him and passes it on to a needy student. Now, he’s faced with a dilemma: is it wrong to steal from the rich if you’re going to give to the poor? Or can he be a modern day Robin Hood and redistribute wealth to those who are truly in need?

This book was so good. I don’t read a lot of YA contemporary, and if I do, it’s usually queer lit, but this sucked me in. I felt so much for both of the main characters, although I do have to admit that I was a little more sympathetic to Rob. All of his problems he faces before the book begins were out of this control, and I felt so bad for him. However, I related to Maegen a lot more than Rob. I, too, am an overachiever and perfectionist who is trying to live up to a siblings seeming perfection. Both characters were deep and complex and so engaging.

I also liked the struggle Rob faced with taking money and objects from others. On the one hand, he was giving it to people who needed it and trying to make amends for what his father did. On the other, stealing is wrong. I liked his journey to realize what he had to do and what was right.

The ending was a little too quick for me. There was an overarching kind of mystery and problem and it was solved in the last few pages very fast. However, the book and the ending were so satisfying that it didn’t detract from the book at all. This is a great read and if you like YA contemporary, I highly recommend it.