Posted in monthly wrap-up

August Wrap Up

August was unexpectedly busy with work and planning for the academic school year. It took a toll on my mental health and, honestly my reading time. I use my books as a coping tool for the busy and crazy life I live, but when things get too overwhelming, I make do with what I can.

While my results are not as impressive as July, I definitely had some good listens.

  1. Books Complete by Format
  2. Genre Breakdown
  3. Books by Ratings

Books Complete by Format

In August, I finished 10 books: 0 were physical reads, 9 were audiobooks, and 1 was an eBooks.

Genre Breakdown

There was not a lot of variety in my genre selection this month. I was in a mental health place that was not great and because of that my book selection for the most part was simple. I stuck with romance and fantasy. The fiction books were from book club and a buddy read. Those two books were a struggle, but they made it on the list.

Books by Ratings

There is not much to the book ratings this month. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of high ratings. There were some books I gave a blind chance to and others I was hoping for the best, with mixed reviews.

Last but certainly not least, the Best and the Worst of the month. This one is super easy for me to identify and should come as no surprise based on my reviews.

The Best
The Worst

August was a rough one for me personally, but hopefully September will be better.

What did your August look like? What were your best and worst reads/listens?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Posted in book review

Persephone: Hades Torment

Title: Persephone: Hades Torment

Author(s): Allison Shaw

Genre: Graphic Novel

Format: Ebook

Would I Recommend? Not Likely

Book Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Spice Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Synopsis

In the traditional story of Hades and Persephone, Hades is the villain who is madly in love with Persephone. Persephone is the poor girl who was kidnapped, forced to marry Hades, and eventually fell in love with him by proximity. Sounds like a dream come true….NOT!

In this story, their love story is mutual from the beginning, but Hades has to decide if he is going to make a move.


Thoughts?

Like many other people, I fell into the Hades and Persephone trap. Growing up, I loved mythology from around the world, but Greek/Roman mythology was some of my favorite. When authors decided to use the story of Hades and Persephone and manipulate it into various stories, I just couldn’t resist.

I was scrolling through Kindle Unlimited and came across this graphic novel. I was immediately enamored by the artwork on the cover. It was something different than what I was used to reading. My go-to is novels rather than graphic ones, so I figured I would try them.

At the story’s start, you are introduced to Apollo, Eros, and Persephone. Apollo wants Persephone, Persephone is not interested; but when Hades stops by and ceases Apollo’s charade, he meets Persephone for the first time. Naturally, he is instantly attracted, but this time, Persephone is also attracted.

The book starts off strong. I was intrigued because it had similar plot points to the original story but made its own, in a less kidnappy sort of way. In this story, Hades has to decide what he will do. I thought it would build, and Hades would essentially be tormented until the end of the story. To some extent, I guess he was tormented until the end, but the book’s middle part focused on the trouble makers, Eros and Apollo. Hades deals with them, he gets the girl, and the story ends.

Not much happens… It is short and to the point. Hades gets Persephone, Persephone gets Hades, they get naked, end of the story. I was a little disappointed because I felt there was a lot of missed potential with everyone’s individual stories. Instead, it fell flat.

I will say that the artwork was gorgeous; it was well done and enjoyable to look at. The story was just underwhelming in the end.

I do want to address the spice rating. This one was a little difficult to gauge because overall, there is just sexual/romantic tension; HOWEVER, there is also nudity portrayed. Therefore, the combination of the two resulted in its spice score. Not a heavy focus, but enough to mention it. This is not suitable for young readers.

Final Review

Do I think this is a good book?

Not really. Good artwork. Subpar story.

Was this a new take on Hades and Persephone?

From what I have read to this point, yes and no. I have not read anything that has this particular plot line or characters, but I imagine there are some similarities to other Hades’ and Persephone-inspired works. It is the closest to the original story but not anything special.

Would I recommend this to anyone and everyone?

No…I’m going to pass on this one.


I liked the artwork but didn’t care for the little plot that existed. There was a lot of missed potential; it made me sad. If you are the type of person who likes to try anything mythology based or appreciate the artwork over the story, then sure… but otherwise, you can probably just pass.


Posted in book review

Remarkably Bright Creatures

Title: Remarkably Bright Creatures

Author(s): Shelby Van Pelt

Genre: Fiction

Format: Physical Read

Would I Recommend it? Probably.

Book Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Spice Rating:

Rating: 0 out of 5.

Synopsis

You have a mystery to solve. Who are you going to call? Clearly a 60-pound octopus.

Remarkably Bright Creatures follows the stories of Tova Sullivan and Cameron. Tova is recently widowed and many years ago lost her son in a tragic accident. Cameron can’t keep a job, has had some rough patches in life, and is ready to learn more about his parents.

How are they connected? They both have a unique experience with the aquarium. Tova is the cleaning lady who befriends the octopus. Cameron gets a job at the aquarium.

Marcellus has decided to help his new friend Tova learn the truth about what happened to her son Erik. Can he find the truth? What other mysteries will be solved throughout this story?


Thoughts?

In June, my co-workers and I decided to start a book club. This book club’s guidelines are that each month a member will be randomly selected to pick the book. That book needs to be one that no one else has read. Otherwise, the genre, topics, and format are up to you. At the end of the month, we meet to discuss our thoughts on the book.

Since this is a book club pick, I will provide my review and the consensus of the book club.

My Thoughts

In June, I was the lucky winner. When it comes to picking books, it has already intrigued me if it has a pretty cover. So, as I was walking down the aisles of books and saw this book just sitting there, it immediately caught my attention. It was gorgeous. As soon as you open the book, you are greeted with some wonderful page art. I was pleasantly surprised.

Now that we have covered the cover, let’s look at the inside of the book.

I went back and forth on the rating for this book. The big question that I usually ask myself when I’m stuck between a 3 and a 4 is whether or not I’d recommend the book to someone else. In this case, yes, I probably would. The easier option would have been to give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars, but that would have made logical sense. (Also, Goodreads doesn’t give the option of halves.)

To describe Remarkably Bright Creatures in one word is slightly difficult. Perhaps heartwarming is the direction I’d go. But it’s not really heartwarming, more so intriguing. But no, that doesn’t work either. Hmm… emotional? I honestly have no idea the best way to describe this book. It truly is just a unique experience.

There are three main characters to this story, each with their own personality and backstory. Tova, the 70-year-old aquarium cleaning lady, Cameron the 30 something “failure” and of course Marcellus, the 60 pound Octopus.

While this story was predictable, had numerous chapters that I had to push through from sheer boredom, and a writing style that was odd at times, the story’s savior was Marcellus. His chapters were life-saving in more ways than one. They often made me laugh, and I always looked forward to them. Otherwise, when a chapter was good, I did not want to put it down.

I noticed that the character development was different as well. I felt like I never really understood or could picture what the characters were like until the end. And even then, it was more guessing. The author established one main feature about each character and then covered portions of their back story.

If I am being completely honest, the story is 3 stars, but with Marcellus plus the beautiful cover, it becomes 4 stars. Overall this is an emotionally driven story with a clear and solid ending. You will not be overly emotional with this book, but some moments made me tear up, laugh, or smile.

Marcellus McSquiddles was easily my favorite character, and I secretly wish more chapters were dedicated to him. He was the show’s star.

Book Club Consensus

While my book club didn’t hate the book, they also did not like it. Here were the *BIG* concepts that we covered.

  • Cameron was way too whiny, ran away from everything, and encompassed every stereotypical thing related to a child without parents.
  • Cameron blamed everyone else for his mistakes and took zero responsibility.
  • There were so many little details that were completely unnecessary and drawn out. For example, the cleaning routine at the aquarium was described in so much detail that I could clean it with my eyes closed.
  • The book would have been better as a screenplay rather than a novel. We literally cast the entire movie for it when we came to this realization.

Final Review

Do I think this is a good book?

Yes, I do. I think it was overhyped because it was a “Jenna Reads” book. But overall, I enjoyed it.

Can the octopus talk to humans? Is this realistic?

No, the octopus does not talk to the humans with his words. You are shown his internal thoughts and feelings, but no direct words are exchanged. They do communicate in other ways but not in words.

Would I recommend this to anyone and everyone?

Kind of. I would recommend it to anyone looking for something different, enjoys reading about family connections, and loves a good cover.


Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt is a debut novel. While it is noticeable that it is a debut, there was a wide range of wonderful components to this story. I am not sure if she will write another story, but it would be interesting to see what she writes next.

On a side note, if you like documentaries, you may also like “My Octopus Teacher”. It has similar vibes to this book.


Posted in book review

The Dead Romantics

Title: The Dead Romantics

Author(s): Ashley Poston

Genre: Contemporary Paranormal Romance

Format: Physical Read

Would I Recommend? Yes!

Book Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Spice Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Synopsis

Some writers take their stories and put them into a book. Others, have ghostwriters share the stories instead. Is one better than the other? No, but it makes for an interesting tale.

Florence Day is a ghostwriter for a notable romance author. She has a book contract she needs to finish and the deadline has past…by a lot! Should be easy enough, she has written several other books with ease. WRONG! After a horrible break-up, Florence has decided that love is dead. How is a romance writer supposed to write romance if they no longer believe in it? Great question. If you have the answer, Florence would love to hear it. Her current plan is to meet her new editor and ask for another extension.

When she walks into the new editor’s office, she was not expecting this gorgeous man to be behind the desk. To say this flusters her a bit is an understatement. Unfortunately, the deadline extension is denied and Florence has three days to finish the book.

As the deadline day creeps closer, Florence receives some unsettling news; her father has passed away. If that isn’t bad, she has to return to the town that runs her out for being a little different. Anxiety, sadness, and stress are at an all-time high, but she heads home to the funeral home. Oh, yeah, did I mention that the family owns a funeral home, and her father was the mortician?

In addition to her family running a funeral home, Florence (and by extension, her family) is hiding a secret; Florence and her father can see/speak/listen to ghosts as they attempt to resolve their unfinished business. Guess who shows up recently dead…her editor, and she has to help him with his unfinished business (which they have no idea what it is); she has to plan a funeral, navigate her emotions, and deal with her family. To say her hands are full is an understatement, but things must be done, including her final book.


Thoughts?

This book…oh, this book. If you are the oldest child, then you will likely relate to Florence. Her personality is stressed; wanting to take care of everything, feels responsible for everything, has so many things on her plate, and forgets to take care of herself. Sound familiar? No, just me? Okay, Florence has a lot to process and handle, but figuring out what to start with is a bit of an obstacle. Instead of tackling one thing at a time, naturally, she tries to do it all at once by herself (sort of) her dead editor is there too.

I enjoyed that this book was a little unconventional. I was able to connect with the characters or at least empathize with them. If you haven’t figured it out yet, when I read a book, I like a well thought out character that I can connect to or empathize with. I felt many of the things Florence is experiencing and was enthralled by this relationship.

The one downside for me was that I was able to predict 80% of the ending and story progression. There were still parts that I was not expecting, but generally speaking I knew the story.

Romance books and tropes go hand-in-hand. This book takes on enemies to lovers (this is a really loose enemy to lovers since technically they are not enemies, Florence just has a major deadline, and he is not making it easy), proximity relationship, and human/non-human relationship. It is a bit odd but it works.

Speaking of romance… how do you fall in love with a ghost and make it romantic? Without spoiling anything you let attraction take its course and get really good at dirty talk. The spice in this look is a solid level three. While there is not necessarily any sex that occurs, there is sexual tension, explicit comments, and some other details that take place. I would say it is still a safe public read if you are comfortable with discussions of sex and sexual behaviors.

Shifting gears a bit, let’s look at the emotional side of the story. This book had me in my feelings at times. Sometimes it was happy feels; others, it was sad feels. There were moments when Florence was self-criticizing that I could feel her defeat. It was the vulnerability of both characters that drew me in. What can I say? I think vulnerability is attractive, even if I am horrible at it. It has been a while since I felt connected to a character the way I did with Florence, and in a way, it was kind of like a strange therapy session.

I want to share a few quotes that gave me those feelings and made me fall in love with the characters, relationship, and story. I suppose these can be small spoilers, so skip ahead to the final review to avoid them.

“He hoped I asked for help because asking was not a weakness-but a strength. He hoped that I would ask more often, because I would be surprised by who would come into my life if I let them.”

The Dead Romantics, Ashley Poston, pg. 285

Because people always left. If they had a choice – they left. And Ben wanted to stay.

The Dead Romantics, Ashley Poston, pg. 276

This vulnerability made me love where Ashley Poston was going with this story. Gus and Florence’s chemistry was evident from the start, yet you, as the reader, can see their relationship morph into something different. Not only that, but you can also see the character’s own personal growth.

Final Review

Do I think this is a good book?

Yes, yes, I do! I loved this unique concept. I could connect with the main character on various levels (oldest child, death of a father, and the stress/pressure of my personality).

Was it weird that the main character fell in love with a ghost?

Not really. There were moments when I forgot he was a ghost, but I also predicted one of the plot twists, so I wasn’t too disappointed in their relationship. The only awkward encounter I felt was when there was a large sexual tension moment between the two characters (once you read it, you will get what I’m saying).

Would I recommend this to anyone and everyone?

Yes! Yes, I would. For people who like paranormal romances, something a little different, and/or a relationship that you will keep thinking about, then this is for you.


The Dead Romantics was a book I did not realize I would like as much as I did. Initially, I was a little skeptical, but I did not want to finish once I started reading it. While I did find it SUPER predictable, it was a book that made me happy to be able to sit down and physically read again.


Posted in monthly wrap-up

July Wrap Up

July consisted of traveling, heat waves, and a lot of reading. It was the first time in a long time that I felt carefree and escaped to new places. I have not read/listened to this many books in a while, but I hope August will be another delight!

One of my favorite this is charts, so let’s see July’s breakdown.

  1. Books Complete by Format
  2. Genre Breakdown
  3. Books by Ratings

Books Complete by Format

In July, I finished 22 books: 5 were physical reads, 10 were audiobooks, and 7 were eBooks.

Genre Breakdown

If you haven’t figured it out by now, romance is kind of my go to genre, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy other genres. Honestly I am trying to push myself more to avoid only reading romance in a month. Let’s see how I did.

While 47% of my books were romance, I did read/listen to books from 8 additional genres, with my second highest genre being Manga at 14%. I did not complete any sci-fi books this month, but I did start one.

Books by Ratings

As I mentioned in my ratings post, I recently changed how I look at books. The goal being more objective with a hint of subjective. I will say that there were a lot less 5 stars than I was use to.

I wish more review/rating websites offered the half star because sometimes a book is in between. For myself, I read 2 books that I would classify as in-between (3.5 stars). Otherwise, the majority of my books were 4-star ratings.

Overall, not too shabby!

Last but certainly not least, the Best and the Worst of the month. This one is super easy for me to identify and should come as no surprise based on my reviews.

The Best
The Worst

Overall I am really happy with what I accomplished this month. Hopefully, I will have one more month of freedom before the crazy of school starts in September.

What did your July look like? What were your best and worst?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Posted in book review

Beach Read

Title: Beach Read

Author(s): Emily Henry

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: Physical Read

Would I Recommend? Yes!

Book Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Spice Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Synopsis

January Andrews is known for her romance novels. At one point she believed in all things love. She had a relationship that she thought would last forever and she wanted her relationship like her parents. Everyone has secrets though. Following the death of her father, January learns that there were some skeletons in her parents closet. After these secrets are reveal and her perfect relationship fails, believing in love is no longer a reality. As a result, she has been struggling to write her novel. Now she has three months to write her next book…but can she do it?

Her father left her his house after he died. January decided that she would clean it out and spend the summer there trying to write her book. There would be no distractions and it should make it easier. That was until she met her next door neighbor, Gus, who she went to school with and was in constant competition. When the two run into each other in town, both struggling to write their books a competition begins.

Who will win in the end? What other secrets may be hiding? Will January and Gus finish their books? Will they stay enemies?

Only time will tell.


Thoughts?

I read this book immediately after finishing “The Dead Romantics.” I didn’t realize it was going to be the summer of writers. There were some similarities between the books: writers, not believing in love, dead father, but there was also a lot that was different.

When I was first introduced to January, I wasn’t sure how I felt about her. She was going through a lot, navigating her feelings and facing the reality of her financial/family situations. Those are places that I can definitely relate to, but I was a little worried that her pity party would drag out too long. Thankfully I did not find that to be the case.

You are quickly introduced to Gus and see another side of January that highlights her inability to cope and forget the past. Gus had other things in mind. As their relationship developed in different ways, I enjoyed seeing how both characters grew, changed and interacted with each other as they tried to write these new books. They also have some wonderful banter; the note passing is adorable!

The challenge that Gus proposed was truly a delight. Seeing how both characters could create a story and the process that they took was interesting. The dichotomy of the types of books each wrote was also fascinating. Usually I tend to focus my reading on romance or women’s literature. It’s not that I don’t enjoy anything else, but it’s what I gravitate to, so seeing a small perspective of thought process for something different was interesting.

Even though I liked both Gus and January, my favorite character was easily Pete. Pete always has something up her sleeve and is the life of the party. She is the person that causes me to squirm when they enter a room or their opinion into my relationships, but I also know they have the best intentions. Pete is witty, carefree, and an interesting business owner.

So why not 5 stars?

While I enjoy Emily Henry’s writing style and storylines, storylines were dragged out, and others were not developed enough. I also found that there was a lot of hype around this book, making it difficult to stay objective about it. I would like to mention that I owned this book way before the hype; I just hadn’t gotten to it yet. While there is not a lot of sex or intimacy when it does occur, it’s not too bad. The against the bookshelves, wooh! Loved that!

Final Review

Do I think this is a good book?

Yes. I really enjoy Emily Henry’s writing style and the way she develops her characters.

Was it really a summer-y read?

While you aren’t sitting on a beach or going on some magical vacation, the majority of the book takes place within the three months of summer (June, July, August). January and Gus still experience some summer activities, such as the 4th of July, summer weather, and sitting on the patio watching the lake.

Would I recommend this to anyone and everyone?

Yes! I would say that this is a loose enemies to lovers, so if that is not your cup of tea then this may not be for you.

If you are looking for a cute summer read about someone trying to overcome their past and explore the future, this book is for you. Like all Emily Henry books, a small surprise occurs within the book designed to pull on your heart strings. Overall, it is a delightful read, and I am sad it took me so long to pick it up.


Posted in book review

The Calm Before the Storm

Title: The Calm Before the Storm

Author(s): Danielle L Jensen

Genre: Fantasy

Format: Ebook

Would I Recommend? Yes!

Book Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Spice Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis

You have just saved Ithicana from the wrath of your father. He manipulated you, destroyed your trust in people, and endangered all you hold dear. Unfortunately, due to the doomed circumstances of your father’s actions, you are now attempting to rebuild the trust of the Ithicanian people. There are numerous roadblocks in the way; one, in particular, is that you have been stuck in bed for that last month healing from your injuries. Therefore, you must navigate a new set of obstacles that involve winning over the court, discovering marital incompatibility, and being recognized as the Ithicanian queen.

Good Luck.

This novella takes place following The Traitor Queen and The Inadequate Heir.


Thoughts?

Following the near-death experiences of Lara, Aren and Lara have a lot of emotions and sexual tension. The easiest way to relieve that sexual tension is, of course, to have sex; however, Aren’s grandma gave strict orders for Lara to rest. Obviously over-rated. This novella has more sexual scenes and energy than any of the other books in the series, but it also has less plot/details needed.

While the sex scenes were well written, my favorite part in this novella was not the sex. It is the scene when Lara is finally able to leave her bed and starts to walk towards the main room, where the country’s meeting is occurring. Lara’s strength, determination, and vulnerability as a character were relatable and intriguing.

Even though these six chapters were unnecessary, I am glad they exist. They show a rebuilding and rekindling of the relationship that Aren and Lara were working with in the previous books.

I genuinely look forward to seeing what else happens throughout the rest of the series.

Final Review

Do I think this is a good book?

Yes.

Did it add anything to the story , or was it just extra and irrelevant?

This one is a little tough to answer because we do not know what follows The Inadequate Heir. If Danielle L Jensen decides to incorporate several of the story aspects in the next book, then it was probably something just to bid the time between the next release. But, if these points are not added, then it was a great addition and something I am glad exists.

Would I recommend this to anyone and everyone?

Absolutely!

The Bridge Kingdom series is ideal for anyone who loves fantasy, fae, spice, enemies-to-lovers, and wonderful world-building. When I started this series, I did not know what to expect; but now that I am here, it has turned into one of my favorites.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.