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?


Snippet Saturday

Part 1Part 2, Part 3

After his meeting with Morgan, Sebastian headed to a local bar called Superstitions. It was the most popular bar that catered to the supernatural sect, which made it a great place to network and meet contacts. Humans “in the know” mingled with demons, vampires, and other creatures of the night, and Sebastian often met clients there during the course of a job.

It wasn’t crowded when Sebastian arrived. He went to the bar, took an empty stool, and ordered his usual, a Scotch, neat.  He had to feed later in order to break it down.

He’d only been there a few minutes before Rob, the owner, appeared.

“Hey, Seb, how ya doing?”  He leaned against the bar next to Sebastian.

Sebastian swallowed the sip he’d taken. “Good. In the market.”

“Ancient weapons? Books? Talismans?” He blinked his red-orange eyes, slitted pupils elongating, showing his interest.

“A book. The Magic of Music. It’s supposedly very old and rare.”

“Who’s the client?”

“His name is Tristan Clearwater. He says he overheard his father talking about it when he was younger and is interested in finding it.”

Rob pursed his lips and leaned against the bar. He scratched a horn nearly hidden by bleached blond hair. “I know an elf that deals with magic books. His name’s Uni. Reclusive, though, doesn’t like new people.”

“How does he stay in business, then?”

 Rob shook his head. “He barely scrapes by.”

“Can you pass on my information?” Sebastian asked.

“Sure. You could also try Raquel. She’s mostly talismans, but it wouldn’t hurt to check her out.”

Sebastian nodded. “I thought about her. And Abrax. He got me a book once a few years ago. I was going to call him tomorrow.”

Rob raised an eyebrow. “And, of course, there’s always Jezbeth. They’re pricey, but…”

He made a face. “No. I’m not entirely comfortable with their practices. The last time I worked with them, they stole my client and got them addicted to demon blood. Client eventually died. Only got half my fee, too.”

“Spreading lies about my company again?” a new voice said.

Sebastian sighed and turned.

Ash Hartley was standing there, his usual smirk in place.

“It’s not a lie if it happened,” Sebastian said.

“It is when your information is wrong. Alex got addicted to dragon scales, not demon blood. And it was hardly our fault.”

“You took Alex to the party!”

“And they chose to try the dragon scales!”

“With your partner’s encouragement.”

“It was still their choice.” Ash shrugged. “My partner told Alex how addictive it was, but they wanted to try anyway. Not our fault.”

Sebastian lifted his drink to his mouth. “Still stole my client.”

Ash came to the bar, body close. Closer than necessary, in Sebastian’s opinion. The human smelled like soap and expensive cologne. It made Sebastian’s stomach tighten. While Ash wasn’t as breathtakingly beautiful as Tristan Clearwater, he was still unfairly handsome with big green eyes, long dark lashes, and sandy blond hair that had a slight curl. He was an itch that Sebastian refused to scratch, and the little bastard knew it. Hence the standing just a bit closer than he needed to.

“Well,” Ash said, “that’s just business. What are you looking for now.”

“Like I’d tell you.” Even if he wasn’t afraid of his client being stolen, he felt reluctant to expose Tristan to Jezbeth Incorporated. If Tristan was as powerful as he seemed to be, the company would find a way to exploit it. Exploit him. Sebastian didn’t want that on his conscience.”

“Ah, come on.” Ash smiled innocently. Well, as innocently as someone like him could. “You seal in blood now. We can’t steal your client.”

“You’d find a way, I’m sure.”

He flashed his dimples. “Your confidence in me is flattering.”

Sebastian snorted darkly. 

“Fine. But I bet I could find what you’re looking for. I’ve got an extensive network and resources you could only dream of. You have no idea how vast our network is.”

“I have some.” He downed his Scotch and turned to Rob. “Please pass my name to Uni. And if you hear anything…”

“I’ll let you know.” Rob nodded.“Thanks. See you.” He tossed his money on the bar and left.

Anonymous Bookaholics Tag

Photo by Mikey Dabro on Pexels.com

I saw this tag done on Kerri McBookNerd’s blog and thought it looked like fun. Not sure who originated it; if you know, let me know so I can update.

1. What do you like about buying new books?

I like the possibilities I’m bringing into my life. New worlds to explore, new characters to meet, new villains to hate (or love). If it’s a book I’ve already read, then it’s old, familiar characters I’m ready to go on adventures with again.

2. How often do you buy new books?

Every few weeks. I was trying to confine myself to just one book a month, but that’s just not happening.

3. Bookstore or online book shopping: which do you prefer?

I vastly prefer going to the bookstore. I like seeing the books and their covers, being able to pick them up and start reading them, and read as much as I need to in order to decide if it’s the book for me.

4. Do you have a favorite bookshop?

No. There aren’t many bookstores by me. I’ve been to the used bookstore in town, and it’s okay, but I don’t love it. I guess there are a few more indie bookstores by me, but I don’t know where they are.

5. Do you pre-order books?

I’m trying to get in the habit of it, since pre-orders are important to authors.

6. Do you have a monthly buying limit?

Not really. I mean, like I said, I was trying for one book a month, and then I modified that to say if they’re really cheap (like $.25), it’s okay to buy more, and now I’m just trying to keep myself entertained.

7. How big is your wish list?

I don’t really keep a wish list.

8. Which three books from your wish list do you wish to own right now?

All three books I wish I had right now aren’t out, and one isn’t even listed on Goodreads yet. I want A Stroke of Malice by Anna Lee Huber (and I did preorder it), Queen of Volts by Amanda Foody, and Relentless by Jonathan Maberry. I cannot wait to have all three.

Boom! You’re tagged!

Review: Archenemies by Marissa Meyer

Title: Archenemies
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Genre: YA, action, superheroes, scifi
Source: library
Publication Date: November 6, 2018

Nova is living a double life. In one, she’s Insomnia, a Renegade superhero dedicated to protecting the weak and maintaining order in Galton city. In the other, she’s Nightmare, and Anarchist determined to bring down the Renegades who once failed to protect her family.


Adrian is also living a double life. In one, he’s the leader of his Renegade patrol group, son of the leaders of the Renegades, and upstanding citizen. In the other, he’s the Sentinel, a vigilante determined to do good even if it means breaking a few rules.

Nova, Adrian, and the crew are faced with problems beyond secret identities as crime escalates in Galton City. They also have to deal with a new secret weapon being rolled out by the Renegade scientists, one with horrifying ethical implications. To top it off, Adrian and Nova’s feels for each other deepen, blurring the line between good and evil even further.

Oh, man, was this book a lot of fun. Nova is such a great character. Raised by evil super villains, she’s concerned with justice and integrity even more than the so-called superheroes. She isn’t blinded by her powers and and the idea that good is always right. She’s concerned with the people of the city, with ethics, and has a clearer picture of how power can be perverted. That’s not to say that she doesn’t have blindness of her own. Her uncle, Ace Anarchy, and the other villains, clearly don’t care about the people as she does. They want power for power’s sake, to be able to do what they want, and the freedom they enjoyed during the Age of Anarchy, when lawlessness ruled. But Nova, of course, is too young and naive to see that, which makes her story a tragedy.


I like Adrian well enough, but he’s not as interesting to me as Nova is. His power is the ability to bring drawings and paintings to life, and he’s used it to tattoo modifications on himself to turn him into the Sentinel. He’s willing to break the rules of that his parents follow, and he does have a point, but ultimately, he’s more of a child in his thinking. I do like the way he cares about everyone, especially Nova. His and Nova’s relationship is very cute and I like the way the came together.


I wish, though, more time had been spent on developing the “bad” Renegade patrol unit. They are exactly what Nova fears: superheroes that abuse their power and authority. I have no t trouble believing that they exist, but I would have liked them to be more complicated and less cartoonishly villainous. I would have liked to see some nuance. But, on the other hand, they contrasted with Adrian, who as Sentinel is abusing his powers and breaking the rules, but following a code that keeps his conscience clear, unlike Geinessa and her crew. So, maybe that’s where the nuance lies.

I highly recommend this book. It’s a great read on what the world might be like with superheroes where the world doesn’t fall apart like in Watchmen by Alan Moore. If you’re looking for an exciting escape from the world, this series is for you.

WWW Wednesday 3/25/2020

Hi everyone! Is anyone else losing time with their quarantine? I’m trying very hard to keep track of my days, but even so, Wednesday surprised me. As did Sunday; I completely forgot to post my weekly wrap-up. I was busy Sunday shopping, meal-prepping and doing chores. It felt like a normal day.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Each week, participants are asked to answer three questions: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next?

I started both these books yesterday and am completely in love. Starcrossed by Allie Therin is an e-ARC and a sequel to Spellbound. Arthur and Rory are navigating their relationship in the face of vast class differences, an ex-lover of Arthur, and even more magical problems. I’m so in love with this book and am already half way through.

The Watchmaker’s Daughter by C.J. Archer is equally magical. India Steele’s father has recently died and, before his death, left his watchmaking business to India’s fiance with the assurance the finance would marry her. Instead, on the day of the funeral, he breaks off the engagement and steals the business out from under her. Destitute and unable to secure employment, she goes to the shop to discredit him where she meets a mysterious American looking for a specific watchmaker. They join forces and…. That’s as far as I’ve gotten. But, like the Ministry of Curiosities series I listened to early this year, it’s completely engrossing with great characters and sizzling chemistry between the two mains. I walked an hour yesterday just so I could continue to listen.

Oh, man, was Archenemies by Marissa Meyer great! Hidden identities, secrets and lies, superheroes… it’s just so well written. And the romance is sweet and frustrating all at once, in the best way. I cannot wait to read Supernova.

I know Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca has been on my “currently reading” list for the past month, but, truth is, I haven’t read it in awhile. So, after I”m done with Starcrossed, I’m going to sit down and read it. Really. And then, as a treat in these troubled times, I’m rereading Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. I definitely need something sweet and romantic right now.

What are you reading this week? Hope you’re staying healthy!

Top 5 Tuesday P-T

It’s Tuesday and that means another Top 5 Tuesday! This is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah at the Bionic Bookworm. This week’s topic is authors P to T.

P is for Ashley Poston author of Geekerella and The Princess and the Fangirl. Awesome stories that retell both Cinderella and The Prince and the Pauper, only in modern times and the ball is a fan convention. Genius.

I literally have nothing for Q. Not even on Goodreads.

R is for Rick Riordan. This one was hard, because there are so many good R writers, but I’m going with Riordan because, according to Goodreads, he’s my most read author.

S is for Tara Sim author of the Timekeeper series. Such an awesome series about an alternative universe where time is a physical thing that controls everything. It also has a great romance.

T is for Allie Therin the author of Spellbound. This is a delightful m/m historical romance about a magic user and the man who wants to protect him at all costs. It’s set in 1920s New York and was a lot of fun. AND I GOT APPROVED FOR THE ARC OF THE SEQUEL!!!! So exciting. 🙂

That’s all for today. Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young People

Genre: YA, contemporary, coming of age, queer lit

Source: library (audio)

Publication Date: February 21, 2012

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison and an uncommunicative father who suffers from PTSD. Dante is a smart kid who is crazy about his parents. When they meet at the pool one summer, they soon become best friends. But where life and tragedy doesn’t separate them, Ari’s anger and uncommunicative nature may do it for them. They must learn to trust one another and themselves in order to discover the secrets of the universe.

This was a super sweet book, which is funny because the main character, Ari, is not a super sweet character. He’s very angry and closed off. Even though the book is told in his first person voice, he doesn’t share a lot about himself and his feelings. The entire book is very sparse and short in the way it’s written, echoing Ari’s nature.

But the relationship between the boys is magical. They are drawn together like magnets and their joy at being with each other just bubbles over. I loved watching them navigate their relationship and growing was wonderful. While there are definitely fits and starts and places where they stumble, but it’s a great journey that they make.

I read this book for two reasons. One, I knew it was queer literature and that’s my special interest. Second, the audio book was read by Lin Manuel Miranda. And both were great. Okay, I’m getting into kind spoilery territory, so if you don’t want any spoilers, don’t read below.

spoiler break

Reading this, I began to think that this was going to be a one sided love story. One of the characters falls in love with the other, but the other didn’t reciprocate. And that was disappointing to me, because I don’t like reading stories like that. I’ve been in that situation, and I want happy endings. But, in the end, it turned out the way I wanted, so it made me happy.

And, as always, Lin Manuel Miranda was great.

Yes, I recommend it. It’s a great coming of age story and a really good love story. I was almost in tears at the end. Happy tears. It’s a great book.

Snippet Saturday

Part 1, Part 2

Sebastian followed Morgan’s human assistant, Anne, to Morgan’s study a mere ten minutes after he’d arrived. He’d honestly expected to be told to make an appointment and come back another time. One didn’t just drop in on the de-facto leader of the Faithful. Or, one wasn’t supposed to. Sebastian did when he needed to see her. She’d only turned him away a few times.

Sebastian was on uncertain terms with the Faithful. He’d been made by one over a hundred years ago and had followed their rules for many years. Honestly, he still did, for the most part. He didn’t kill humans when he fed, unless they were bad–murderers, rapists, pedophiles–or they really pissed him off.

But, the Faithful… They were just so sanctimonious. And boring. They were in a sort of perpetual mourning state for their creator who’d been killed a few years before Sebastian was made. Before she’d died, she’d proclaimed she’d return, and so the Faithful were just waiting for her to come back. If she ever did.

The Faithful were all about rules and rituals and worship and Sebastian had never believed in God as a human. And while he was grateful to Kali for miracuously rising from death as a vampire and starting a new race, he wasn’t going to start worshiping her memory.

Anne stopped in front of Morgan’s study and turned. “I don’t know how long she’ll be able to talk with you,” she said with an easy smile. “She’s not super busy tonight, but things always can come up.”

“I understand. Thanks for letting me see her at all.”

She laughed. “I run her schedule, but this was all her. I think she was intrigued that LA’s most famous neutral came her see her.” She pushed the door open and waved him in.

He rolled his eyes at the description as he walked by her. There were plenty of neutral vampires in LA. He was hardly famous.

Morgan was sitting at her desk, typing. When he came in, she looked up and smiled. “Sebastian.” She rose and walked around the desk. “So nice to see you,” she said, holding out a hand.

He took it and shook it gently. Despite himself, he always felt a little tongue-tied around Morgan at first. It wasn’t her looks, although she was beautiful with long dark hair, big brown eyes, and long lashes. If she hadn’t been the second vampire ever created, he might have tried to take her to bed. But she was the second vampire ever and that sort of intimidated him. Kali was an abstract concept; Morgan was reality.

“Morgan. Thanks for seeing me.”

She smiled and gestured at a couple chair set up in front of the desk. He took one and she sat across from him, tucking one ankle behind the other. “What can I do for you?”

“I have a couple things. First, do you know anything about Michael Clearwater? He’s a member of the Society.”

She wrinkled her nose. “Not much. For awhile, he was trying to gain power and made some traction. Then, it all fella part for him, and now he’s a fairly obscure member.”

“Any idea why?”

“Not really.” She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “I don’t generally worry about the Society. Why?”

“His son came to me and asked me to find something for him. It occured to me that it could be a trap.”

“His son?”

“Tristan Clearwater. He’s looking for a book called The Magic of Music. Which is the other thing I wanted to ask you about.”


She tapped her fingers against her chin, eyes distant. After a moment, she shook her head. “I don’t know that I’ve heard of it. I doubt it’s in our collection, but I’ll ask Anne. She’s got a better idea of what we have, at least in the house. Is it urgent?”

Sebastian shrugged. “I get the sense it is, but Tristan isn’t exactly being forthcoming on why. He says he only wants to understand the theory, but it’s obvious he’s lying about something. And, he’s powerful.”

“Really? How powerful?”

“I’m not sure exactly, but I could taste the power in his blood.” Sebastian swallowed, thinking of the tingling he’d experienced. “It’s nothing I’ve ever tasted before. It made my mouth tingle. That ever happen to you?”

She shook her head. “No. I could taste some power in Anne, but nothing that made my mouth tingle. Are you sure it wasn’t something else? Lust? Compatibility?”

“Now, it was power. He wants it to seem like his interest is purely academic, although he admitted he was interested in gaining some control. It’s more than that, though. I’m sure of it.”

Morgan frowned. “What control does he need? Does he want to become more powerful or less?”

Sebastian pursed his lips, thinking. That was something he hadn’t considered. What if Tristan was lying not because he didn’t want Sebastian to think he wanted more power, but because he had the power and wanted less? What if he was as powerful as Sebastian sensed and it was overwhelming him?

“If it’s the latter, it’d be better to get the book into his hands sooner than later,” Sebastian said. “The last thing we need is for him to accidentally blow up Los Angeles because he can’t control what he has.”

Morgan moved her head from side to side. “That kind of innate power is very rare. But, you’re right. Do you know where he works? I can send Anne to meet him. See how powerful he really is.”

Sebastian gave her the address of Tristan’s workplace. “And you’ll check around for the book?”

“Yes. If we really have a violate warlock…”

“He says he’s not a warlock. He’s got magic, but says he can only do a few things.”

Morgan leaned forward. “Yes, but musical magic isn’t based on spells. It taps into a deeper power and teaches the magic user to channel his energy. For it to work, the user must have a connection with that magic already. The magic is a tool to draw it out.” She tapped her fingers on her knee. “Actually, if he uses magic as a focus, he might not even be a warlock.”

“What might he be?”

“I’m not sure,” she said. “But warlocks usually need spells. Music is different.”

“Anne’s a witch, isn’t she?”

“Yes, but she’s still studying. Her magic is spell based. If his isn’t, if it’s something else, we can’t let him run around untrained. We need to know.”

Sebastian shifted. “You think his father sent him?”

“Perhaps,” she answered, sitting back. “It could be Michael Clearwater is hoping to climb the ranks once more by disrupting our society in America. But, it’s equally likely that Tristan left on his own and came here to distance himself from his father.”

“Why?

She shook her head. “I don’t know. Generally, while the Society is against the supernatural, they aren’t technically averse to using and training warlocks. If Tristan is powerful, he’d be coveted, not spurned. So, without knowing Tristan and his story, I couldn’t say.” She leaned forward. “Proceed with caution, Sebastian. You are dealing with the child of a vampire-hate group. Try to find the book, but be careful.”

“I’m not planning on becoming his best friend. He’s just a client.”

“One whose blood you’ve drunk. And whose blood is infused with power. That can be addictive.”

He rolled his eyes. “I’ll be careful.” Sebastian stood. “Thank you for your time, Morgan.”

“I’ll be in touch.”