Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Daughter of the Moon Goddess, 1/11/22

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan!
Expected Release: January 11, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • This story is folklore inspired! I’ve found a soft spot for retellings in the past year, which is a preference I never knew I had. I love seeing the ways in which people reimagine stories and tell their own version, breathing life into them all over again by filling in the details we may never truly know. I’ll have to read the legend of Chang’e, the moon goddess, before I read this book! Or maybe after? Hmm…
  • If folklore isn’t good enough, this one is also based on Chinese folklore. I tend to really love the style of those with their elegant yet fierce characters and (often literally) radiant settings. I think the art of the book cover really captures the aesthetic I’m trying to explain here.
  • And there’s magic! Godly magic is especially exciting because it’s so unfathomable, and unlimited, and can really be anything. What limits are there on magic, and especially magic of goddesses?

Summary

Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the feared Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when Xingyin’s magic flares and her existence is discovered, she is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind.

Alone, powerless, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to learn alongside the emperor’s son, mastering archery and magic, even as passion flames between her and the prince.

To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies across the earth and skies. But when treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, she must challenge the ruthless Celestial Emperor for her dream—striking a dangerous bargain in which she is torn between losing all she loves or plunging the realm into chaos.

Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: No Ex Before Marriage by Portia MacIntosh (1/11/22!)

No Ex Before Marriage by Portia MacIntosh
Expected Release Date: January 11, 2022

Recommended: sure
For characters who might make you cackle in delight every now and then, for a plot that flirts with absurdity just enough to make you smile, for a slow wind into more serious territory where you’re there without realizing when it went from silly to somber

It’s not over until someone says ‘I do’…
While her friends join the “Wife Club” one by one, Poppy feels like that part of her life is done and dusted. Already married and divorced she’s not desperate to go through all that again.

But what if her divorce never actually went through…?

After a shock revelation Poppy not only discovers she is still married, but that Zac is about to have his second wedding!

Coming face to face with her (almost) ex-husband after six years apart is never going to be easy. And when Zac panics and tells his new wife-to-be that Poppy is family, things can’t get much worse as she is welcomed with open arms as part of the wedding party!

As the memories flood back, can Poppy really leave the past where it is? And can she watch the first love of her life walk down the aisle to say ‘I do’ once again?

Thoughts

I think the simplest way to sum this up is by saying that if you read the blurb and it makes you smile and think it sounds like something you might enjoy, you probably will. It definitely delivered, even though going into it I was like “how on earth will they explain that this guy introduced her as his cousin when that would be SO stupid of him??” And yet, in the moment, I was totally on board and thinking that the only way out of the situation was to pretend they were cousins. Yep.

This is a romance of course, and I’d say that the romance in it was a definite slow-burn and honestly a little bit secondary to the main issues of the relationships. Since Poppy and Zac have already had a relationship built and even been married, that initial falling in love stuff happened more or less off screen. We get some nostalgia and reminiscing, but no real flashbacks. So if you’re coming into this hoping for steamy or swoon-worthy moments, you’re probably not going to be satisfied. It’s more of an element to the character’s story rather than the singular focus.

Continue reading “ARC Review: No Ex Before Marriage by Portia MacIntosh (1/11/22!)”

Starting the year with the joy of a random day off ^.^

Hey y’all! I started 2022 off with an extra day off from work so I could bask in doing whatever the heck I wanted for a day while everyone else performed tasks. Suckers!!! 😁 Unsurprisingly, that turned into reading… all day… for literally about 6 or 7 hours.

I re-read the webcomic Let’s Play because the third season is out. I hadn’t planned to read it all in one day, but it’s all so good! 😊

So I took a little bit of luxury to start the new year. Yay for small condos.

Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own!

Recommended: sure
For a slow character study, for a creepily realistic look at how things can suddenly yet subtly cross the line, for a book that’s like the opposite of The Farm

Summary

Frida Liu is struggling. She doesn’t have a career worthy of her Chinese immigrant parents’ sacrifices. She can’t persuade her husband, Gust, to give up his wellness-obsessed younger mistress. Only with Harriet, their cherubic daughter, does Frida finally attain the perfection expected of her. Harriet may be all she has, but she is just enough.

Until Frida has a very bad day.

The state has its eyes on mothers like Frida. The ones who check their phones, letting their children get injured on the playground; who let their children walk home alone. Because of one moment of poor judgment, a host of government officials will now determine if Frida is a candidate for a Big Brother-like institution that measures the success or failure of a mother’s devotion.

Faced with the possibility of losing Harriet, Frida must prove that a bad mother can be redeemed. That she can learn to be good.

Posted in Book Talk

January TBR: freeeeeee!

Hey y’all! Happy 2022, hopefully!! We’ll have to see what it has in store for everyone and the world, but for my part I feel confident that it will at least have one constant: boooooks! I didn’t really have much in mind for January because December was mostly wrapping up some challenge books and ARCs for the year. Which I did. So now…. I’m free!

Which was almost a problem there. How did I go from someone who could NOT handle making a tbr list, to someone who’s momentarily baffled when I don’t have one? I fixed the problem the best way I knew how: borrowing and buying books!!! 😁 Here’s where I settled for the plan this month. 🙂

Where my heart led me

My heart led me to The Foundation Trilogy because I just finished watching the show with my love, and we both really enjoyed it. So of course, for Christmas, he got me this beautiful purple-leather-bound and gold-edge-gilt collection of the first three novels. WHAT A BABE, RIGHT? 😍 It’s been really fun to read the original story and see how the show compares to it!

Continue reading “January TBR: freeeeeee!”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: 30 Things I Love About Myself, 1/4/22!

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! This is the last Friday for 2021, and conveniently it’s also the very last day of 2021! Even though I have to wait until next year for this book, it’s really not so bad. 😉 Today’s is 30 Things I Love About Myself by Radhika Sanghani!
Expected Release: January 4, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • Alright, when the blurb and the book start out with a character ending up in jail the night of their 30th birthday, I’m expecting a character with some attitude. Assuming this isn’t like stabbing and is more of a party-hard-disorderly arrest, I can support this start. Feisty, independent woman? Check.
  • Reinventing yourself is one of my favorite themes! Especially when people are worried they’re too old, too involved, or too unsure to start over. I say POO POO to that! Never live a life unsatisfying when you can do something to change it! Get at it, girl! I also love that this might not have a romance angle, and (hopefully) will truly be a story focused on self-love instead of definition b others.
  • Plus we’ve got a bit of the cultural impact of Nina’s Indian family. I always love reading about people with different families and traditions from my own, because even small things like the food mentioned briefly in the book might be a tasty new idea I’ve never known about!

Summary

Nina didn’t plan to spend her thirtieth birthday in jail, yet here she is in her pajamas, locked in a holding cell. There’s no Wi-Fi, no wine, no carbs–and no one to celebrate with.

Unfortunately, it gives Nina plenty of time to reflect on how screwed up her life is. She’s just broken up with her fiancé, and now has to move back into her childhood home to live with her depressed older brother and their uptight, traditional Indian mother. Her career as a freelance journalist isn’t going in the direction she wants, and all her friends are too busy being successful to hang out with her.

Just as Nina falls into despair, a book lands in her cell: How to Fix Your Shitty Life by Loving Yourself. It must be destiny. With literally nothing left to lose, Nina makes a life-changing decision to embark on a self-love journey. By her next birthday, she’s going to find thirty things she loves about herself.

Posted in Reviews

Review: King of Battle and Blood by Scarlett St. Clair

King of Battle and Blood by Scarlett St. Clair

Recommended: yes
if you’re fine with a TON of explicit sex scenes, but also it resolves into a pretty damn good story (that still has a lot of sex scenes)

Their Union Is His Revenge.

Isolde de Lara considers her wedding day her death day. To end a years-long war, she is to marry vampire king, Adrian Aleksandr Vasiliev, and kill him. ⠀

But her assassination attempt is thwarted and Adrian threatens that if Isolde tries kill him again, he will raise her as the undead. Faced with the possibility of becoming the thing she hates most, Isolde seeks other ways to defy him and survive the brutal vampire court. ⠀

Except it isn’t the court she fears most—it’s Adrain. Despite their undeniable chemistry, she wonders why the king——fierce, savage, merciless—chose her as consort. ⠀

The answer will shatter her world.

Thoughts

OKAY, first of all, I don’t know if all of the author’s books are like this and I just had no idea, but the first half of this book is basically just erotica with a light vampire theme. There’s several scenes of masturbation, filthy talk, sexual tension, and yes, sex. The word clit is said 13 times, starting as soon as chapter two. (Thrust is also said 13 times, but once is referencing a pivotal violent moment rather than sex, so look forward to that, too!)

So it’s a LOT of sex stuff (cough chapter six cough), but it’s also preeetty satisfying sex stuff. Jus’ saying — it wasn’t exactly a con for the book. xD But a heads up because this would have been real awkward had I been reading on public transport like I used to all the time.

Continue reading “Review: King of Battle and Blood by Scarlett St. Clair”

Preparation begins!

Hey y’all! I’ll be getting a puppy in a few months, and to prep I just started reading some puppy training books! I haven’t had one before so I have a lot to learn. I’ve been taking mad notes so I’m ready, hopefully. ☺️ Thankfully my partner has had several puppies before so he’s pretty good with it. Still, I want to be able to do my part!!

Posted in Book Talk

My favorite things about StoryGraph Plus (+Plus Subscription Giveaway until 12/31/21!)

Hey y’all! Whether you know and love The Storygraph already, or you haven’t had the pleasure yet, allow me to introduce you to some of my favorite features specifically from the Plus subscription. The site itself is free, and you can do A TON with it from the free level, but adding the Plus subscription is a lot of lovely little bonuses.

If you’re someone who loves data and stats, or has a book journal or spreadsheet with all the nitty gritty details of your reading, or you tag the heck out of ALL of your books — you’re going to love this. 😁

Take a look at the best features of Storygraph Plus that build on the base website, and enter the raffle for a one-year subscription of Storygraph plus!

A quick look at The Storygraph!

The main features of The Storygraph (SG from here on out) that tend to draw people in are the stats and the customized searching by the moods of the book.

The search: mood-readers rejoice, because that’s who SG was made for! (At least, it feels that way). The moods include tags like inspiring, sad, funny, informational, dark, adventurous, and a WHOLE lot more. You can find titles based on these and many other criteria to get to the perfect read to satisfy whatever whim you have! Moods are set by users’ reviews and machine learning, so there’s a good balance of feedback.

The stats: aaaaand here’s where my analytical side fell in love! There are a ton of stats complete with charts and the ability to drill down into the details of each segment. Below you can see my current chart for books I read in 2021 broken down by mood tag, with the “emotional” tag highlighted. If I click on the emotional wedge it shows me a list of all the books included in it. There are so many more stats, like pages read per day, book pace, page length average, genres, format… TONS!

You’ll notice I read ZERO “relaxing” titles this year… that explains some things…

There’s a lot more to love about the site, but those are usually the two highlights for folks new to it.

The highlights of Storygraph Plus!

ALRIGHT, now, if you want to dive in and completely immerse yourself in data and tracking details of your reads, then Plus is a dream come true. I’m grateful I’m able to afford it, both because it’s wonderful to have, but also because I love supporting the tiny team that does all the work on this. Right now it’s $50 USD for a year, or $4.99 USD for a month.

Stats per custom tag & comparing them!

If the data built in to SG doesn’t cover everything you want, you can tag the heck out of all your titles. And if you have SG Plus, you can see the stats for each tag you add!!

I love using this to track personal challenges or notes on my Fast Forward Friday titles to see what my habits are and how many I’ve read, rated on average, etc. I’m going to use this to make a whole post about them, and look at what books tend to draw me in. Apparently, it’s largely emotional / adventurous titles. xD

Continue reading “My favorite things about StoryGraph Plus (+Plus Subscription Giveaway until 12/31/21!)”