Monday, December 31, 2018

What a month! With the holidays and time off work, I thought I'd have more time to read but that it might be interrupted reading time, and I was totally right. Except that I spent a large amount of my reading time re-listening to some favorites because I had very little attention to pay to anything new. Plus, I was watching A LOT of Hallmark Christmas movies. ๐Ÿ˜†

I got a few books for Christmas and some even cooler bookish accessories. Sabrina and I will be putting together a bookshelf tour soon because that's the best way to get to know someone new -- or new to you -- and because I spent some of my vacation reorganizing my shelves and I'm quite proud of them. But that's a post for another day.

I didn't quite hit my unofficial goal of a book a day (365 total) but I got really close with 352. That's over 100 more than my Goodreads goal was. ๐Ÿ˜œ

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 Dark Days Deceit - This is one of my absolute favorite YA series. It combines the supernatural with a historical setting and gives off serious Buffy vibes, and although I wasn't ready to see it end, I absolutely love how it went out with a bang. I've long suspected who the ultimate villain was and it was rewarding to have my suspicions confirmed, especially since there was still the matter of how it would all go down. So many twists and turns in this book left me wondering who to trust, with the exception of a chosen few, but it definitely kept things interesting. I could've used a few more chapters featuring the two halves of the Grand Reclaimer bond there at the end, or even just an epilogue, but it was still a great conclusion. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Beauty - I feel like I've been on hold for this book forever, and to be fair, it's been since September since my last mini-Robin McKinley binge and since June that I read Rose Daughter. I loved Rose Daughter, especially the way it left off, but I guess that left me with some pretty high expectations for Beauty. I adore BatB retellings, even ones that stick pretty close to the original tale or vary so widely that they almost don't feel like a retelling. Beauty is the former. And it was beautiful. It just seemed kinda basic? I mean, there was something like 20 years between the two books, with Beauty releasing first, so I guess it's understandable. I liked it, but I didn't love it. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Carols and Chaos - I've pretty much adored all of Cindy Anstey's previous works, and this book was no exception. I wish I'd realized that this was a companion to Suitors and Sabotage, though, so I could have re-read that book first and refamiliarized myself with the lords and ladies above stairs before setting out to solve this caper with characters from below stairs. This was a sweet romance full of Yuletide cheer, while also maintaining and air of mystery, and while it wasn't the most compelling of Anstey's books thus far, I still found it charming. A lovely read for this time of year! ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

*ARC received from publisher for review purposes. This does not affect my review in any way.


A Daring Arrangement - This was my first Joanna Shupe novel and I quite enjoyed it. Though I pretty much always enjoy the fake relationship trope to some degree, I really liked how it was handled in this story: gorgeous daughter of a duke makes a deal with a roguish American financier that should get her sent packing back to England post-haste...what could go wrong? Fires, former paramours, and bad deals from the past...that's what. Not to mention an English-bred lady with debauchery on her mind and a rogue trying to mend his wicked ways and enter high society with her on his arm...and in his bed. It was fun. It was flirty. And it was definitely daring. I may have found a new historical romance author to binge! ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Hate Notes - I really enjoyed the first 2/3 of this book, and then it just got sappy. The banter and ball-busting and will they won't they of pages before disappeared and things got real...and unrealistic. These two characters were super-invasive, prying into each other's private lives because of a shared attraction, and yet neither was bothered by that fact, not really. And listen, I'm a romantic, but that ending was just too perfect, even for the likes of me. Coupled with the epilogue, I was ready to hork rather than swoon. I did enjoy the match-making grandmother, though. I feel that'll be my calling later in life: interfering granny. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

The Harlot Countess - Ah, how many novelized relationships have I seen go up in flames due to a lack of communication? Too many to count. But this might be the first time I've actually seen a debutante ruined because of it...and not intentionally so. I appreciate the timeliness of this novel because even in this day and age, it's so much easier for the world at large to believe a man over a woman. It's taken ten years for the heroine and hero of this story to come to terms with the past meet on the battlefield of love once again, and this time, he's not letting her get away. Blackmail, art, and sedition all contrive to keep this couple apart, even now, but a love this long in the making isn't going to die easily. I didn't like these characters as much as those in A Daring Arrangement, but it was still a lovely second chance romance. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Shades of Milk and Honey - I saw this recommended in a blog post on GR, I think, and for some reason I want to attribute the rec to Maggie Stiefvater but I can't find the original post now. Anyway, it sounded like the perfect book to get me over my sadness that the Lady Helen series is at an end. But I almost gave up after listening to a few minutes of the audio because it was grating and tinny with an echoing quality. However, I normally listen at at least double-speed, so I tried it at a lesser speed and though slower than I would have liked, it was much more pleasant to listen to, especially once I discovered that the author herself narrates. This book took me back to my Jane Austen re-read last year: it was just so authentic in tone and speech and even had the characteristic dry wit and understatement of a Jane Austen novel. And then there was the magical aspect. It wasn't flashy or obnoxious, the way supernatural elements can sometimes appear when included in a historical setting. Instead it was artfully described and was in fact used as a demonstration of art and magical talent in this story, those with the affinity using it to create splendid tableaus. I'd love to explore this magical system further in subsequent books, since I've also discovered that this is only the first book in a series. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

A Touch Wicked - Did you know that Elizabeth May writes smexy historical romance under the pen name Katrina Kendrick? Neither did I until she tweeted about checking out her steamy books over the Thanksgiving holiday. ;)

The Weaver Takes a Wife - Sometimes you just want a fun romp into historical romance, and that's exactly what I got with this book when I grabbed it via the ARP. The summary is what caught my attention, having never read anything by Sheri Cobb South previously. I do so enjoy a romance where the two love interests come from different walks of life and have to overcome the obstacles associated with a difference in class. This one was sweet and the narration done well. It sort of reminded me of a Marion Chesney/M.C. Beaton novel, and I'll definitely be checking out more from the author when I'm looking for a quick foray into this genre. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

I Adored a Lord - I found My Lady, My Lord to be quite divine when I read it ages ago, so when I saw that Hoopla had added a whole slew of Katharine Ashe novels to its catalog, I jumped at the chance to try another. The premise for this one sounded quite extraordinary, so even though it is the second book in a companion series, I couldn't help myself. It's a fault of mine, but it hasn't been my downfall yet. I Adored a Lord was elegant and fanciful and everything I'd been hoping for. With a murder mystery afoot and a prince's affections to win, the clever yet hoydenish Ravenna has a lot on her hands, even if she cares more about the former than the latter. This story was intricate, but while on the long side, it was never plodding. In fact, I adored (heh) the slowness of the revelations that came as Ravenna worried at her attraction to Vitor, the prince's bastard brother, and how their relationship evolved. The story was sweet and romantic and one of the better additions to the historical romance genre. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Clean Sweep & Sweep in Peace - After thoroughly enjoying the Hidden Legacies series last month, I thought I'd give this author duo another chance. I put the first Kate Daniels audiobook on hold at the library, but I DLed the first in the Innkeeper series using an Audible credit because it sounded worthy of it. It was...different. Maybe I didn't read the summary very well but I was not expecting all of the interplanetary alien stuff, especially not with the mention of vampires and werewolves. Supernatural I was expecting, even looking forward to because I'm familiar with that lore. I only read the first two books in this series and decided to call it quits because it really wasn't holding my interest. They were chock full of information, from galactic warfare to breakdowns on each species and every planet they inhabit, and it was just overwhelming. I like sci-fi and I understand the need for such intense world-building. I just wasn't here for that with this series, and it almost pains me to stop reading here. I want to know what happens to Dina and Sean and Arland and Her Grace, but I want to enjoy myself while finding out, and that's just not gonna happen right now if I push myself to read more of this when I'm not specifically in the mood for it. Definitely a case of "it's me, not the book" and I wish it were otherwise. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

One for the Money - I never had any intention of reading this series. There's something like 25 books and I just cannot commit to characters for that long, nor do I anticipate an author can sustain their own characters for that length of time. But I can't concentrate at work without an audiobook in my ear, and I didn't have one queued up and this was a freebie or title I picked up on sale on a whim way back when I first started listening to audiobooks and didn't know any better. Oh, and I saw someone on GR the other day griping about Stephanie's inability to choose between Morelli and Ranger and they were on book 19 or thereabouts, and since I don't despise love triangles, I thought I'd finally check it out. There must be something about those guys if she can't decide after that long. ;) That being said, I didn't hate it. It was a little over the top and ridiculous, but it was entertaining and even a little funny at times. I'm not disinclined to listen to the next book, and I don't think I'd ever see the movie based on this first one. But I'm still not willing to commit to all 25 books. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

B I N G E   R E A D S

Kate Daniels series - I didn't enjoy this as much as the Hidden Legacy series but I did like it more than the Innkeeper Chronicles. I didn't read the novellas, which, um, mistake. I felt like I was missing all kinds of info because of that. I also didn't read the final book because after book #9, I feel like I know pretty much what's going to happen and after nine straight books, I'm kinda bored now. ๐Ÿ˜ฉ

R E - R E A D S

The holidays make it hard for me to get into anything new, so I spent a good portion of December re-reading some favorites. But the ones I re-read also helped me prepare for new books in a couple of the series, so it's a win-win!

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

Until next time! Happy reading!


  1. Any tricks for heavy reading? I mean 352?! Impressive!


  2. ุดุฑูƒุฉ ู†ู‚ู„ ุนูุด ุจุงู„ุฑูŠุงุถ ูˆุฌุฏุฉ ูˆุงู„ุฏู…ุงู… ูˆุงู„ุฎุจุฑ ูˆุงู„ุฌุจูŠู„ ุงูˆู„ู‚ุทูŠู ูˆุงู„ุงุญุณุงุก ูˆุงู„ุฑูŠุงุถ ูˆุฌุฏุฉ ูˆู…ูƒุฉ ุงู„ู…ุฏูŠู†ุฉ ุงู„ู…ู†ูˆุฑุฉ ูˆุงู„ุฎุฑุฌ ูˆุงู„ุทุงุฆู ูˆุฎู…ูŠุณ ู…ุดูŠุท ูˆุจุฌุฏุฉ ุงูุถู„ ุดุฑูƒุฉ ู†ู‚ู„ ุนูุด ุจุฌุฏุฉ ู†ุนุฑุถู‡ุง ู…ุฌู…ูˆุนุฉ ุงู„ูุง ู„ู†ู‚ู„ ุงู„ุนูุด ุจู…ูƒุฉ ูˆุงู„ุฎุฑุฌ ูˆุงู„ู‚ุตูŠู… ูˆุงู„ุทุงุฆู ูˆุชุจูˆูƒ ูˆุฎู…ูŠุณ ู…ุดูŠุท ูˆู†ุฌุฑุงู† ูˆุฌูŠุฒุงู† ูˆุจุฑูŠุฏุฉ ูˆุงู„ู…ุฏูŠู†ุฉ ุงู„ู…ู†ูˆุฑุฉ ูˆูŠู†ุจุน ุงูุถู„ ุดุฑูƒุงุช ู†ู‚ู„ ุงู„ุงุซุงุซ ุจุงู„ุฌุจูŠู„ ูˆุงู„ุทุงุฆู ูˆุฎู…ูŠุณ ู…ุดูŠุท ูˆุจุฑูŠุฏุฉ ูˆุนู†ูŠุฒูˆ ูˆุงุจู‡ุง ูˆู†ุฌุฑุงู† ุงู„ู…ุฏูŠู†ุฉ ูˆูŠู†ุจุน ุชุจูˆูƒ ูˆุงู„ู‚ุตูŠู… ุงู„ุฎุฑุฌ ุญูุฑ ุงู„ุจุงุทู† ูˆุงู„ุธู‡ุฑุงู†
    ุดุฑูƒุฉ ู†ู‚ู„ ุนูุด ุจุฌุฏุฉ
    ุดุฑูƒุฉ ู†ู‚ู„ ุนูุด ุจุงู„ู…ุฏูŠู†ุฉ ุงู„ู…ู†ูˆุฑุฉ
    ุดุฑูƒุฉ ู†ู‚ู„ ุงุซุงุซ ุจุงู„ุฑูŠุงุถ
    ุดุฑูƒุฉ ู†ู‚ู„ ุนูุด ุจุงู„ุฏู…ุงู…
    ุดุฑูƒุฉ ู†ู‚ู„ ุนูุด ุจุงู„ุทุงุฆู
    ุดุฑูƒุฉ ู†ู‚ู„ ุนูุด ุจู…ูƒุฉ
    ุดุฑูƒุฉ ู†ู‚ู„ ุนูุด ุจูŠู†ุจุน
    ุดุฑูƒุฉ ู†ู‚ู„ ุนูุด ุจุงู„ุฎุฑุฌ


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