Thursday, November 30, 2017

What I've Been Reading Lately {11.30.17}

Thursday, November 30, 2017 with 12 comments

So, I hit my goal of 250 books for the year earlier this week, and yet I still don't feel like I really read that much in November, at least not compared to previous months. Maybe it's because I basically took all of Thanksgiving week off from reading to focus on work and preparing for the family to arrive for the holiday. Also, I didn't really re-read this month, which is really unusual for me.

My foray into some classic novels, most especially Georgette Heyer novels, is still going well. Really well. But my attempt to get in the holiday spirit with some Christmas-themed reads is...well, not. I haven't read a single new-to-me holiday book that's been anything but meh. Might have to re-read some favorites instead. Though, I don't even know if I can take Dash & Lily again. I feel like I need something a bit more substantial this year. Plus, I've read it like five times now, lol. Suggestions for Christmas reads would obviously be welcome. :D

And without further ado, here's what I've been reading lately...

(More on why I've gone to this format here in lieu of traditional reviews for each.)

Y O U N G   A D U L T

The Knowing - I loved The Forgetting. Like, FIVE STAR loved it. It was so unique and Sharon Cameron is kind of brilliant and it was just so good. So, my expectations for the companion novel were pretty high. Where The Forgetting focused on a civilization that forgot who they were every 12 years, The Knowing takes place centuries later and features a people who cannot forget. They even remember being in the womb. It was quite the opposite story in a lot of ways...but also kind of not. I liked the parallels and what realizations they led to. And I liked the characters for the most part. But this sequel of sorts was just missing that certain something that would have made me love it as much as the previous installment. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Empress - Whoa. This sequel was not playing around. As with the previous book, I still never knew who to trust, who to rely on. And I still pretty much think everyone is batshit crazy. The lengths these people will go to for revenge, to see a scheme through to fruition! If this is the future -- where we've turned from everything we knew because technology was threatening our very existence -- I want no part of it. I do, however, want the next book STAT. That ending! That fucking ending! Not what I expected AT ALL and I kind of hate how it left things but also kind of love it because after everything I still, STILL did not see that coming. If The Diabolic was unexpected, The Empress was fucking unbelievable. Now I know why they sent a heady candle and bath bombs with the promotional package: you need a relaxing soak in the tub after reading something like this. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Last Magician - I waffled back and forth on whether I wanted to devote time to reading this. In theory, it sounded good. In practice, it was mildly entertaining. But if I'm being honest, it read like it was trying entirely too hard to be the next Six of Crows. Heisty and with a crew leader who resembled Kaz more than a little, it had its moments. But it was also supposed to occur during the early 1900s, and I just never felt like I was transported back to that time period. 🌟🌟🌟

I See London, I See France - If you like a book with a definitive happily ever after, this is not the book for you. Most of the time, I'm okay with that, but considering Sydney's trip and the implications of her summer romance, I need some sort of closure. More than a few words in a text, at any rate. Beyond that, this book was fun. I've always wanted to backpack across Europe, and though I could have used way more description, it kind of felt like I was on said trip. And some of Syd's travel tips just might come in handy if I ever do get to make this trip one day. 🌟🌟🌟

The Art of Feeling - This was a story of broken people trying to find their way back to normal, and though these stories are usually hit or miss for me, I found myself completely taken with this one. It beautifully contrasts the unending pain of a girl suffering both mentally and physically after a catastrophic accident with that of a boy who can literally feel no pain and hides inside himself to avoid any kind of emotional pain. Their interactions were adorable and weird and I loved them just the way they were. No romance necessary because these kids are SO not ready for it. Also, I loved the cast of secondary characters; they were just so genuine in their own grief and issues and made the story feel that much more full and heartfelt. I snorted. I teared up. I felt the things. Even looking back at the cover now makes me feel the things...if that's any indication of the power of this book. And I believe it is. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Invictus - I was absolutely certain this was going to be such a me book, especially after loving her Wolf by Wolf duology, but I just can't get into it. I got to a little more than the halfway point of the audio and I'm just so bored. I usually listen on my commute, but after starting this on Friday at work, I couldn't bring myself to listen on the way home and there was no impulse to keep listening over the weekend. Or on my way in this morning. So, I'm setting it aside for now. Time travel is usually my bag, so maybe it's just me and I'll enjoy it more when I come back to it some day. DNF...for now

Silver in the Blood - This was a bit of an underwhelming Dracula retelling. Mostly because there was no meat to the story and it was sooo slow to get to the heart of it. (Heh.) The narrative always felt surface level, never delving further to really capture my attention. And the two perspectives were written so similarly that it was hard to tell them apart. All in all, it was too cutesie and not at all the story I was hoping for. 🌟🌟

Devils & Thieves - You ever just know that a book is going to be for you but that you have to be in the right mood or frame of mind for it in order for it to work out that way? That's me and this book. I'd wanted to read it since I first heard about it, having loved Jennifer Rush's Altered series. But I read some mixed reviews and so I put it off. And put if off. Until yesterday when I decided I was ready for a little magic and some hot bikers. I was not disappointed! It's a little predictable and the characters are a little cookie-cutter, but I loved how the magic of the world was explained. There were a lot of different types of magic to keep track of, but it wasn't overwhelming, especially with the main character's sensitivity to it. And that ending! I would totally be okay with leaving off on that creepy note, totally left wondering, but I'm also glad to see that GR shows this is only the first book. This was such a fun story and I can't wait to see what's next for the Devils' League and their cohorts! 🌟🌟🌟🌟

T H E   H O L I D A Y   R E A D S

By Winter's Light - I've been wanting to try Stephanie Laurens out for awhile, and when I saw the holiday list on Hoopla, I thought, what better time? I love themed reads, especially holiday-themed stories with all the romance and festivities. But this one was just, well...nothing happened for the longest. And it was just so slow. Was this supposed to be more of a novella, like a bridge between the real couples featured in the series? If so, it should definitely have been shorter. 🌟🌟

The Trouble with Mistletoe - Many of my friends lurve Jill Shalvis. So, while I'm reading holiday novels to get in the Christmas spirit, I thought I'd give this one a try. My very first Jill Shalvis novel and it was an adorable romance about second chances and it definitely gave me the holiday feels but also it was maybe too angsty? It was pure banterfluff and totally adorkable until it came to what Willa wanted. That girl was spinning herself in circles, and while I was smiling and laughing through most of it, it was still not exactly what I wanted from the story. It did, however, make me keen to read the other companion novels in the series. So, now I'm on hold for a couple at the library. =) I mean, I did mention the banterfluff, didn't I? 🌟🌟🌟

One Snowy Night - Meh. I get that this was a novella, but that tension was just too easily resolved. And if I hadn't read the previous book already, it would have been even worse coming into this story with no history of the animosity between these characters outside of this trip. Or maybe not? I don't know. It was also really saccharine sweet and I'm kinda in a sour mood today so that's not helping. Think I'll stay away from romance this week... 🌟🌟

T H E   C L A S S I C S

Cotillion - Okay, so this one wasn't narrated by Richard Armitage - *sigh* - but it's definitely high up on my list of favorites as far as Georgette Heyer is concerned. I loved the constant scheming of Miss Kitty Charring; reminded me a bit of Emma but in a more helpful, honest way. Poor Freddy was ill prepared for Kitty and really had no idea what he was signing on for, which was all the better. This story was clever and absolutely delightful and it's made me even more glad that I discovered loads more Heyer novels over on Hoopla. Huzzah!  🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Pride and Prejudice - A forever favorite. I read an article earlier this year about how Mrs. Bennett and Lydia Bennett were the most misunderstood characters, how they knew what they wanted and how to get it, and so I tried to re-read it taking that into consideration. I concede the point but I still find them utterly impossible to like to any degree. Still, they're part of what makes this story so excellent, so I can't fault them for it. =) 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Faro's Daughter - Challenge completed! This was book #250 for the year and also the perfect way to complete my GR reading challenge. There's just something about Georgette Heyer novels that makes my heart happy and leaves me smiling. It also made up for that crappy holiday book I read earlier today. A palate cleanser, if you will. But I digress. I really loved the hero's capacity for jumping to conclusions -- well, after he was basically goaded to it -- and the rampant miscommunication and constant scheming on the heroine's part. I think that last aspect is what makes Heyer's novels so fun. Completely unselfish plotting that makes me laugh. Just what I needed today. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Grand Sophy - What is it with me and scheming heroines? Especially Georgette Heyer's scheming heroines? :D I just can't seem to get enough of them. I thought at first that my fixation with these novels was due to Richard Armitage's narration, but even without it, I love them so! I especially adore Sophy the shocking matchmaker and her endeavors to see everyone paired up and happy. What a lively, entertaining story. I will have to wait until my Hoopla credits renew before I can embark on any further Georgette Heyer adventures, but lucky for me, that day is nigh. =) 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

R E - R E A D S

The Diabolic - So, so good, even upon a re-read. And so necessary before diving into The Empress, its sequel. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


Behind Her Eyes - Dude. What a total mindfuck. I'm actually kind of mad at my friend Sabrina for making me read this...and for making me finish it while we were on vacation and she was staying with me. "That ending, tho," she says. "You've got to read this NOW!" she says. And don't get me wrong, I was totally intrigued. I had a good theory. Everything was moving along well. Until that last fucking chapter. I really could have done without that. It just seemed so...EXTRA. Totally unnecessary. The absolute worst had already happened. Why take it there? I mean...I really, really liked it up to that point. I'm not usually a fan of thrillers. Maybe this is why... 🌟🌟🌟

The Sea King - I KNEW IT! Which is to say, this sequel was a little kinda fairly predictable at times. BUT, I enjoyed it. Not as much as the first book, per se, but still enough to continue the series, obviously. Which is kind of how I remember feeling while reading her Tairen Soul series: loved the first two books, felt so-so about the next two and then back to loving the last book. So, I have faith that I'll have fun with the rest of the series, even if I don't love every book. Especially the way this one left off. Still, I think I preferred the sections dedicated to Dilys' perspective, at least the first half of this book. Summer/Gabriella was just so...obstinate, refusing to fall in love simply because she might lose it. Love is always a risk, so it irked me that it took her so long to accept Dilys. Though it was romantic reading as he attempted to woo her. =) The second half of the book was definitely much more entertaining, full of battle and betrayal and revenge. I just wish I knew something, anything really, about the next book...especially since it'll probably forever until it's in my hands. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Find any new titles to check out? ;0)

Until next time! Happy reading!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Choose A Side: RENEGADES Blog Tour

Saturday, November 4, 2017 with 3 comments

Hi, my name is Jen, and I'm an Anarchist. And I hope you'll join me in my attempts to undermine the Renegades revolution! My super power is Telekinesis, which means I'm very smart and can move things with my those Renegades better watch their backs. 😈

You can choose which side you're on, as well as discover your own super power, by taking this quiz.

I've always been kind of partial to villains, so as part of my recruitment campaign, I'm sharing my Top Ten Villains in Literature below.

But first, here's a little more about the book...

Title: Renegades
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: Renegades, book #1
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Add to Goodreads

From #1 New York Times-bestselling author Marissa Meyer, comes a high-stakes world of adventure, passion, danger, and betrayal.

Secret Identities.
Extraordinary Powers.
She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone...except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova's allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

Top Ten Villains in Literature/Comics

I know some readers prefer traditional villains, and while I do have some of those on my list, I've got some...different kinds of villains in my list of faves, as well. In no particular order, here are some of my favorite villains:

1. The Lilim from Stardust by Neil Gaiman - These three witches, known collectively as the Lilim, seek the heart of a fallen star turned mortal woman so that they may eat it in order to stay young so that they may cast more evil spells and continue various nefarious deeds. After finishing off the heart of the last fallen star.

2. The 7 Evil Exes from the Scott Pilgrim comic book series by Bryan Lee O'Malley - True, some are more evil than others and some are hotter than others, but evil is as evil does. And these evil exes have some fun psychic and mystical powers.

3. President Snow from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - This guy is evil incarnate. A true villain in every sense of the word. Diabolical, even. Him and those roses, tho...soooo creepy.

4. Queen Levana from the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer - Now this is a woman with a plan. Evil genius, yes, but also undoubtedly off her rocker. Some of my favorite villains are the crazy ones.

5. The Darkling from the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo - Um, so, yeah. Aleksander Morozova will always make my list, no matter what type of villains we're talking about. He's yummy. He's dark and mysterious. Kind of a stalker and halfway redeemable but evil when it really matters. *le sigh*

6. Other Mother from Coraline by Neil Gaiman - Man, she tries SO hard, doesn't she? She just wants a daughter of her own - to keep and sew button eyes on, but to each their own, right?

7. Valentine Morgenstern from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare - Now, here's a guy who really knows how to f*** with your head...and his own kids. And his wife, too. And his friends. Well, pretty much anyone he meets. What an evil mastermind lurks beneath that smooth exterior!

8. AIDAN from Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff - So, maybe not a true villain by everyone else's standards, but this Artificial Intelligence was pretty malicious. Like, that death toll was only going to keep rising.

9. Amarantha from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas - This lady knows how to play the long game. And make you cower in fear all the while. She likes riddles and kicking puppies and will kill you just for fun. Amarantha will destroy any bit of happiness you find, and it gives her immense pleasure to do so.

10. Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling - She may not be the ultimate villain in the series, but at least Voldemort knows he's evil. Umbridge waltzes around in her pink ensembles, thinking her poop doesn't stink, all the while making it even easier for Voldemort to carry out his evil plans.

Heroes aren't perfect and villains aren't always what they seem. I do like a villain who stays the course, who remains villainous for the duration of a series. But I also love a redeemable villain or one with a tragic backstory that explains WHY he or she ended up this way. And sometimes?

Sometimes. I. Just. Like. Villains.


About the author:

Marissa Meyer lives in Tacoma, Washington, with her husband, twin daughters, and three cats. She’s a fan of most things geeky (Sailor Moon, Firefly, color-coordinating her bookshelf . . .), and has been in love with fairy tales since she was given a small book of them when she was a child. She may or may not be a cyborg.

Find Marissa:

Website | Twitter | FacebookGoodreads | Pinterest

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

What I've Been Reading Lately {10.31.17}

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 with 3 comments

For some reason this month, I was compelled to read quite a bit of classic literature. At least from the likes of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. I made it through all of Jane Austen's work, with the exception of Pride & Prejudice, simply because I'm still on hold at the library for it. But it's my favorite of hers and a re-read at that, so it was more important for me to read those that I hadn't picked up before. I also did a little spooky re-reading and ventured into somewhat foreign territory with an adult contemporary and an adult sci-fi novel, both of which were pretty fun in their own way.

And without further ado, here's what I've been reading lately...

(More on why I've gone to this format here in lieu of traditional reviews for each.)

Y O U N G   A D U L T

If There's No TomorrowVanguard (Razorland, #4)All the Crooked SaintsLove Songs & Other Lies

If There's No Tomorrow - I think this is my favorite JLA novel. I didn't have a favorite before because none of her books have really resonated with me up to this point, but I do now. The main character's grief and longing were palpable in this story of loss and consequences and it made me sit down and pay attention to a side of Armentrout's writing that I'd never experienced before. This story was gritty and poignant and heartbreaking and it was so unlike the tropey stuff I'm used to. Sure, there was a severe lack of communication which caused problems between characters, but there was a real reason for it. These characters weren't just playing games. This was a frank and serious novel about a tragedy that's all too common these days, and I thought it was exceptionally well done.  🌟🌟🌟🌟

Vanguard - This spin-off novel in the Razorland series was quite different from the previous three books. But it also wasn't. The original series had Deuce and friends facing near-death situations and would-be zombies at every turn. But Vanguard takes place after the War of the River, where peace between humans and the Uroch was reached. The beginning of this book was a little slow, and I'm not afraid to admit that I almost put it down, never to be picked up again. But after re-reading the original series earlier this year, I knew I couldn't leave it like that. And it was worth sticking with. Just because Tegan and friends aren't facing muties/freaks anymore, doesn't mean they don't encounter more than they bargained for when they leave the relative safety of the homes they've come to know in the year since the war. And I ended up really enjoying their adventures. I've tried reading Aguirre's other novels, but nothing compares to the writing in this series. It's just so compelling.  🌟🌟🌟🌟

All the Crooked Saints - Maggie's books are weird. I like weird. But for a plethora of reasons that I will only briefly touch on, this story didn't work as well for me as her previous novels. Mostly, I just didn't connect with the characters. To be fair, I don't usually feel one with the characters in her books, but I at least care what happens to them. With AtCS, I found it so easy to walk away from the story time and again. I wasn't captivated. There were no "AHA!" moments, like with The Raven Cycle. It was just slow and strange and felt more like a weird dream I wanted to forget than a story I wanted to keep reading. I read on her blog that the story was originally much darker, and I can't help but feel that I would have preferred it stay that way. 🌟🌟🌟

Love Songs & Other Lies - So, this story is kind of post high school with flashbacks from before, but I'm still considering it YA because there was honestly nothing that really made it feel like it wavered into new adult territory. But it was nearly unputdownable. I know a lot of readers don't like flashbacks, but I love that you get a more well-rounded idea of a character, seeing what they were like before and how they've changed. Seeing where everything went wrong and that they're being given a second chance. I also love that music was integral to this story. And though I'm not a fan of reality TV in general, I actually enjoyed that aspect, as well. The manipulations and machinations of all involved made the story that much more interesting. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

T H E   C L A S S I C S

PersuasionEmmaMansfield Park

Persuasion - After reading The Jane Austen Project, I felt inspired to read all of Jane Austen's collective works. Or re-read them, as the case may be. This is my first read through of Persuasion, though I've read a YA retelling or two. I quite liked this book, though. It reminded me of why I loved Pride & Prejudice and Emma so much. Jane Austen just had such a clarity with regards to the world around her and society at large. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Emma - I've always loved Emma. I know she's unlikable and self-involved and her character growth is marginal at best, but I still love this book. The match-making attempts made by Emma are just too fun and ill-fated. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Mansfield Park - I'm a little ashamed to admit that this was my first time reading Mansfield Park, but I'm also a little relieved because teenaged-me would have cringed and thrown the book down when I'd learned the book concludes with a marriage between first cousins. Now, I'm a little more open-minded to the fact that that's just how things were sometimes done during that time period, whether to keep property in the family or for actual romantic feelings. But even now, I can't help but think poor, poor Fanny. Years spent pining for the cousin and friend who'd essentially made her the woman she was, only to end up with him after he's thoroughly resigned to the fact that the woman he pursued instead of her was never the woman he thought her to be at all. This story was frustrating to no end. I've now read five of the six Jane Austen novels, and I daresay this is my least favorite. 🌟🌟🌟

Northanger Abbey - The one remaining Austen novel I hadn't read and it ends up being among my favorites. (Okay, well, truth be told, the only Austen novel I didn't love was Mansfield Park, so make of that what you will.) I adored Catherine's love of gothic literature and how she jumped to conclusions and made an utter fool of herself at times because she saw danger lurking everywhere. And I kind of love Tilney for being able to overlook that. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Sense and Sensibility - I know I read this novel in high school -- I even remember having to write a report about it -- but prior to picking up the audio, I couldn't have told you anything else about it. Which is why re-reading is so great. If it's not a favorite that I can almost recite line for line, then it's a favorite I can read again for the first time. The Dashwood sisters were such polar opposites and yet I loved seeing the parallels as their romantic entanglements slowly unraveled...and how they came together upon realizing this. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Convenient Marriage - Oh, that was a lovely story! Made even better with Richard Armitage narrating! And to think, were it not for my friends on Goodreads, I may never have experienced it, let alone known that I was going to endeavor to get my hands on all of the Georgette Heyer novels within my grasp, despite having never even heard of the author previously. *cue the gasps* I know! What has been my education if it did not include the works that established the historical romance genre? The genre I fall back on whenever nothing else will do these days? I shudder to think. And now I will comfort myself by downloading more of her lovely stories...hopefully also narrated by the inimitable Richard Armitage. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Sylvester - Richard Armitage narrating Georgette Heyer novels is giving me life. How? How did I not know such a thing existed? Better yet, why did none of you tell me? I think Georgette Heyer, mother to the regency romance genre, writes it like no other. Her stories are charmingly short and if not straight to the point, they at least don't meander and last longer than necessary due to miscommunication or the utter lack of it. I know this is only the second of her novels I've read/listened to, but I already have such a strong love for them. I loved Phoebe, wanting of conduct and aplomb, and I adored the arrogant Sebastian and his Darcy-esque proposal. The rest of the cast of characters was also quite entertaining and I can't say a bad thing about this novel. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Venetia - I loved how tangled this story was and how well Richard Armitage performs the role of reformed rogue. But I'm sad that there's only one more of these novels with this fabulous narrator available from my library, and it's currently checked out so I have to wait to enjoy it. :( 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Charity Girl - This one...this one I did not love. And there were probably several reasons for that, namely that Richard Armitage did not narrate it. Also, that it was much longer than the others I've read thus far. And it was not a romance. Not to me, anyway. I honestly knew who the intended love interest for Desford was from the beginning, but they've been lifelong friends and he spends so little time in her company for much of the book that I wasn't sure it would actually come to pass. I'm glad I listened to the others first or this novel surely would have put me off them. 🌟🌟

R E - R E A D S

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)Lair of Dreams (The Diviners, #2)The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

The Diviners/Lair of Dreams - Re-reading in preparation for Before the Devil Breaks You. I'd say it's not necessary to read, but it was great being back in this world. Plus, when there are two or three years between books instead of the usual one, it's probably just a good idea to refresh your memory, regardless of any recap the author might offer at the beginning. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - I re-read this every October, if not more often, and it is still probably my favorite Holly Black novel. It's just so fantastically creepy. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

738 Days - When I saw the new novel from Stacey Kade is going to be about a girl who makes up a life based on Felicity to keep her mother happy, I knew I had to read it. But it also made me want to re-read the last Stacey Kade novel I read. Except this time on audio. But still with the tears. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Forgetting - Re-reading prior to picking up The Knowing, even though that one is a companion and not a true sequel. But it's been awhile and I wanted to remember the world of the Forgetting, to remember the whys and hows and how the story left off, especially. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


How to Capture a Countess (The Duchess Diaries, #1)My Beautiful Enemy (The Heart of Blade Duology #2)Not Quite a HusbandThe Trouble with Dukes (Windham Brides, #1)The Fall of Lord Drayson (Tanglewood, #1)

How to Capture a Countess - My second Karen Hawkins' novel proves without a doubt that I'm a fan. I don't think I've seen this vengeance plot played out before -- though I am still relatively new to historical romance -- but I quite enjoyed the flirtations and challenges and the scheming on the part of Sin's aunt. It was good, calculated fun. It's a shame my library doesn't have any more of Hawkins' novels on audio. :*(  🌟🌟🌟🌟

My Beautiful Enemy - This novel felt like a mix of all of the Sherry Thomas novels I've read to-date, even her YA series, what with the historical aspect and action scenes and a female masquerading as a male to survive in her world. Oh, and the flashbacks. And even though it wasn't my favorite of her books, it was still quite entertaining and quite romantic. This is actually the second in a duology, and I haven't read the first book, though I've heard it's better. It's supposed to be the prequel to this story, but you can definitely read My Beautiful Enemy without having read the other. Which I did since my library/Hoopla only had this one available. *le sigh* 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Not Quite a Husband - Apparently, I'm on a Sherry Thomas binge again. Though, it's over as quick as it started because I found the only other two books of hers that my library had via Hoopla. Boo. Still, I love her novels because they take a taboo subject and turn it on its head for the enjoyment of the dear reader. The premise of this novel has been done before, but I don't think it's ever been quite so...well, action-packed and widespread. It's definitely not boring, at any rate. ;) 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Trouble with Dukes - I feel like I've been pretty lucky with all of the new-to-me historical romance authors I've tried of late. I think I saw someone mention the second book in this series on GR, and that's what made me put this one on hold at the library. I love Scots. I love scheming matchmakers. And I love a series where each book details how a spinster daughter finds the love of her life. Though this one actually felt like it was more the Scottish duke's story than the spinster's at times -- and that might have been because the narrator was male (but good) -- it was all of the things I admitted to loving above...and then some. I hope my library takes my recommendation to purchase the audio for the second book to heart. I can't wait for the next couple's story! 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Fall of Lord Drayson - This was rather adorable. I love a good amnesia plot, especially one that comes with a side of comeuppance. And the romance was cuuuute. Not full of miscommunication and missed opportunities. It was just right. =) 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Truth or Beard - I'm not a big fan of facial hair. A little scruff is fine, but I'm not partial to a full-on beard, which is why I'm glad my husband decided to shave his off after we'd been dating for awhile. But, the beard doesn't make the man, obviously, and I kind of loved how charming and gallant Duane Winston was, beard and all. I was sure I was jumping into a romanticized version of Duck Dynasty when I picked this one up, but I was pleasantly surprised. I listened to a sample first, and I was sure I was going to be thoroughly annoyed with the narrator for Jessica's perspective, but she really grew on me after awhile. That's not to say I would seek her out as a narrator again, but she did fit the personality of the character and it worked. The narrator for Duane's character was perfectly adequate throughout. I had a lot of fun listening to this one overall -- especially sausage night at the Winston's -- but I'm still unsure if I'll pick up the rest of the series. There were moments that this story became a bit repetitive -- dialogue, actions, words, you name it -- and I can only imagine how tedious I'll find that in the rest of the series. Rounding up because of Cletus, whose book I might be inclined to read once I've distanced myself from the books for a bit. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Grimspace - Well, that was fun! And the narrator is the same as the later books in the Vampire Academy series and its spin-off, though under a different name, and she just does that snarky banter and sarcasm so well. Of course, I have a soft spot for fugitive intrepid space travelers and love almost any story featuring them. But this one ranks high above any I've read before. It's fast-paced, action-packed, group dynamic is exactly what I was in the mood for. And this book stands completely on it's own, even though there are six books in the series in total, which is great for me, considering I wasn't really looking for a new series, just a thrilling space opera in between reads. Man, now I'm even MORE excited for Aguirre's sci-fi collaboration with Rachel Caine. :D 🌟🌟🌟🌟

What Happens in Scotland - I didn't realize this was Jennifer McQuiston's debut historical romance when I grabbed the audio from the library. I actually listened to all of the books in her second series last month and rather enjoyed them. And I liked this story, too, though maybe not quite as much, and mostly because the first half of the story finds the hero and heroine apart, both suffering memory loss and acting rather dunderheaded in their attempts to find the other. I may check out the other books in the Second Sons series, but I'm in no rush to do so. 🌟🌟

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Find any new titles to check out? ;0)

Until next time! Happy reading!

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