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Holiday Short Stories: Blog Tour & Giveaway

Featuring J. Courtney Sullivan, Rainbow Rowell, Chandler Baker, & Suzanne Redfern

Ring in the Holidays with Excerpts from Festive Reads by Bestselling Authors Rainbow Rowell, Suzanne Redfearn, J. Courtney Sullivan, and Chandler Baker

This winter, rejoice in a festival of entertaining new tales from Amazon Original Stories. Unwrap unique short reads by bestselling authors to keep your holiday season merry and bright. Visit www.amazon.com/holidaystories to browse a curated selection of stories—free for Prime Members and Kindle Unlimited Subscribers—and read on for excerpts from the titles by Rainbow Rowell, Suzanne Redfearn, J. Courtney Sullivan, and Chandler Baker. 

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After a long, lonely year, two people stumble toward each other in If the Fates Allow a holiday short story by Rainbow Rowell the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park and Fangirl.

Reagan crept to the side to get a closer look. It looked like the deer had managed to snag its foot between two crossbars and a small tree that was growing right next to the fence.​​​​​

“What are you doing?” Reagan asked again.

“I’m going to help it get free.”

“It’ll get itself free.”

​​​​​“I don’t think it will. It’s wedged pretty good.”

The deer broke into frantic movement, struggling against the fence. “It’s going to injure itself,” Mason said.

“It’s going to injure you.”

This wasn’t a fawn or a hungry little doe; the deer was as long as Reagan was tall—it must have weighed two hundred pounds.

​“Shhhh,” Mason was saying. Maybe to the deer, maybe to Reagan. He was crouching behind it, which seemed like the dumbest decision in the world.

​​​​​“Mason,” Reagan whispered.

​​​​​“It’s all right,” he said, reaching for the trapped hoof. “Her other legs are on the other side of the fence.”

​​​​​“I think that’s a buck.”

“She’s not a buck, look at her head.”

The deer struggled again. Mason froze. Reagan took another anxious step toward them.

When the deer stilled, Mason shot forward. He bent the tree back and grabbed the trapped hoof, lifting it free.

The deer pulled the leg forward—and in the same motion, kicked its other hind leg through the fence, catching Mason in the chest. 

“Oof,” he said, falling backward.

The deer ran away, and Reagan ran to Mason. “Jesus Christ!” she shouted. “I told you!”

Mason was lying on his back in the snow. Reagan went down on her knees beside him. “Are you okay?” she asked, touching his arm.

​​​​​His eyes were wide. “I’m fine,” he said. “Just surprised. Is she okay?” 

“The deer?”

He nodded.

“She’s fine,” Reagan said. “She’ll live to spread ticks and disease, and destroy crops. Where’d she get you?”

He pointed to his shoulder.

“Can you move it?”

He rotated his shoulder. He was broader than he looked from a distance. Broad even under his coat. His neck was thick, and one of his ears was partly inverted, probably from an old injury. He had snow in his ears and his hair. His hair was much darker than Reagan’s, almost black.

​​​​​“Did you hit your head?” she asked.​

“No. I think I’m okay.”

“That was so stupid, Mason—that could have been your face.”

“I think I’m okay,” he repeated. He lifted his head up out of the snow and pushed up onto his elbows.

Reagan moved away from him.

He stood up, so she stood up, too. 

“That could have been your neck,” she said. “That was so stupid.”

​​​​​“Okay,” he said, nodding. “You’re right. I’m sorry.”

Reagan’s heart was still pounding. Mason looked worried. There was snow on his glasses, and his mask had fallen below his nose. He was holding her arm. “I’m sorry, okay? Are you hurt?”

​​​​​“No,” Reagan said. “I’m just . . .”

​​​​​Mason was holding her arm. He was standing right next to her. 

​​​​​Reagan made a fist in the suede collar of his coat and pulled herself closer to him.​​

​​​​​His head dipped forward, more fiercely than she was expecting, to kiss her.

Read More About If the Fates Allow Here >>

***

From Suzanne Redfearn, the bestselling author of In an Instant, comes a heartfelt short story about one couple’s journey to discover if there really is a secret ingredient to happily ever after before their upcoming holiday wedding in The Marriage Test

The server appears. “Something to drink with dinner?”

“Do you have a white burgundy?” I ask, feeling like something bright to match my mood.

The server points to the French section of the wine list. 

“Oh,” I say, as the list is limited and pricey. “I only want a glass. I’ll just take a—”

“A bottle of the finest white burgundy you have,” Justin interrupts. 

“Justin—”

​​​​​He waves me off.

The server leaves, and I lean in to kiss him. “I love you.” 

“For ordering a bottle of wine?”

“For ordering a bottle of wine to make me happy.”

I sit back again, and he returns his hand to my knee. “Good evening.”

I look up, and my breath catches. Standing a foot from our table is Annabelle Winters, my chef idol since college. She’s five feet tall with narrow shoulders and wide hips. Curls of wild black hair escape her white cap, flour dusts her black chef coat, and in her hands is a cutting board with a round loaf of bread.

​​​​​“I understand tonight is a special occasion,” she says, a Mediterranean accent rounding the words. I tilt my head as Justin nods. “In my home country, we have a tradition: remarkable moments are celebrated by the breaking of bread. So, I made this loaf specially for you.” She sets the board on the table, wisps of steam spiraling from the golden, flaky crust. “This is pogača, the bread of my childhood and a symbol of love.”

​​​​​With a small bow, she pivots away.

​​​​​“That . . .that was . . .I can’t believe it . . .that was Annabelle Winters.”

​​​​​Justin smiles wide, a proud grin that crinkles his cheeks. “You told her it was a special occasion?”

“It is,” he says. “We are together.”

I look at the loaf. “Wow. Pogača. My grandmother told me about this bread. It doesn’t use eggs or milk, and it’s cooked on a hearth over an open fire.”

​​​​​“It’s still warm,” he says. “It must have just come out of the oven.”

​​​​​I lift it to my face and inhale deeply, warm yeast and flour filling my nose. “Mmmm.” I hold it toward him.

​​​​​He takes a breath, then leans back and nods. “Well, go on . . . break bread.”

​​​​​Grinning like a kid at Christmas, I grip the edges and start to twist.

​​​​​“Wait!” Justin yelps, stopping me, the loaf suspended.

​​​​​He falls from his chair to the deck, my leg flopping from his lap along with his napkin.

​​​​​I giggle. “What are you doing?”

​​​​​“Okay,” he says, now kneeling on one knee. “Keep going.”

The people at the table behind us have stopped what they were doing and are now looking at us, and I notice Annabelle Winters beside the entrance watching as well. I look at the bread, then at Justin, then back again, and blood rushes to my face as I realize what is happening.

​​​​​“Really?” I say.

He nods toward the bread.

Cheeks spread wide, I tear it in two, sending gold crumbs raining onto the tablecloth.

Poking from the steaming center is the corner of a stainless-steel cylinder.

I dig my fingers in to pry it loose and set it on the palm of my hand. An inch and a half tall and two inches in diameter, it’s engraved on top with two doves surrounded by a ring of leaves.

​​​​​The woman behind us shifts for a better view.

​​​​​Heart pounding, I prize off the lid. Sitting on a bed of white satin is a stunning sapphire ring, the center stone blue as the deepest ocean, a single diamond baguette on either side.

​​​​​“Ava Nicole Barnes,” Justin says, his voice elevated for the audience, “keeper of my heart, guardian of my soul, and woman of my dreams, will you make me the happiest man on this earth and do me the great honor of becoming my wife?” 

Read More About The Marriage Test Here >>

***

Not happy? No problem. Fake it. From New York Times bestselling author J. Courtney Sullivan comes the sharp witted short story, Model Home, about the reality of reality TV. 

On the ninth take, things get heated between the husband, Todd, and his wife, Noreen.

​​​​​He complains that this house only has three bedrooms, leaving no possibility for the man cave he was promised he’d get if they gave up their downtown Milwaukee loft for the suburbs. She seems flabbergasted that he can’t see the advantage of sacrificing that space for what is by far the biggest backyard of the three houses they’ve looked at.

​​​​​Todd says in a tone that manages to sound both jokey and hostile, “If we buy this house, you can’t complain when I play my electric guitar in the living room. Have you thought of that?”

​​​​​Noreen replies, “I’m only ever thinking of Colby and Mason.”

​​​​​If you ask me, they both deserve an Oscar. The tension is palpable, even though everyone present knows they already bought this house seven months ago.

​​​​​House Number One belongs to Todd’s cousin. It isn’t for sale. House Number Two is soon to be listed. The owner was happy to provide access, since being featured on our show, even as a reject, will sell the place in a minute.

​​​​​I, the wise referee/realtor/designer, smile and say for what feels like the one trillionth time in my life, “Sounds like you two have a lot to discuss. Babe, let’s leave them to it.”

​​​​​I wonder briefly if I’ll ever get to say these words again on camera, but I have to put the thought from my head.

​​​​​I never call Damian babe in real life. Especially not now, but even back when I could stand him.

He doesn’t meet my eye. He’s staring into space, going out of his way to look disinterested. No one notices but me. Lately I think of my husband as a disappointment turducken: a lack of ambition wrapped in a beer gut wrapped in a statement tee designed for a much fitter man.

Read More About Model Home Here >>

***

Everyone is home for the holidays, clamoring for all the Christmas cheer only their mother can whip up. They can already smell the chestnuts roasting—or is that Mom’s hair on fire? From New York Times bestselling author Chandler Baker comes the laugh-out-loud short story, Oh. What. Fun.

During normal times, Mom loves to spend most of her day on the phone with one of us or the other. As soon as she hangs up with Channing, she’ll call Sammy; as soon as she’s done with Sammy, Tyler will call; and then she starts the whole process again. Not that we’d ever say this out loud, but we’re in the thick of our lives, so we’re busy with dating and kids and friends getting married and pregnant and such, and, well, Mom’s stories are kind of dull. Though obviously, in retrospect, this is an instance when we should have paid better attention.

​​​​​Unlike Mom, Channing never complains about anything and so she didn’t make a big deal of it when Mom, again, forty-five minutes after the agreed-upon time, took over the kids, leading them on a special explorer hunt to find Canelo the Elf.

​​​​​Mom is wild about that Elf on the Shelf. Canelo joined us three Christmases ago. The twins are in a Spanish- immersion program, hence the name, and Channing and Doug explained to us that if Canelo started the month of December at their house, he’d need to travel for the time spent at Grandpa and Grandma’s. It only made sense. Sothe trick is there are actually two Canelos. Mom bought a body double so Channing could leave hers safely at home. Canelo’s antics are one of those things we all tease her about: Somebody has too much time on her hands. But the truth is, we do kind of get a kick out of him.

​​​​​Mom keeps the Elf ’s next move top secret from everyone, even Dad. Last year, Canelo relaxed in a Crockpot Jacuzzi filled with marshmallows; then he stole all of our toilet paper to build snowmen and rode a zip line down the stairs. This year was off to an impressive start as the twins took binoculars and donned safari hats to track down Canelo, who was wearing camouflage in one of the old oak trees. But we guess we’ll never know what else Canelo had in store, because Canelo hasn’t moved in two days. His painted, unblinking eyes stare at us from his perch, and none of us have been able to work out yet how it is we should explain this to the twins.

​​​​​We think at some point during the Canelo expedition Sammy pulled up and plopped down on the couch, probably with his shoes still on, and started messing around on his phone. Every group of siblings has a “one,” and Sammy, for us, is the Boring One, mainly because he’s twenty-five and always on his phone. Also he just broke up with his girlfriend (see: always on phone), and yet when we tasked him with one very simple to-do—break into Mom’s phone—well all the sudden he apparently “didn’t know anything about phones.”

​​​​​Sammy didn’t see anything or hear anything or smell anything unusual, but as we’ve already pointed out, this can’t be taken as gospel since he was preoccupied texting back and forth with his ex.

Sammy

do you know what kind of laundry detergent you used to use on our clothes? Bc mine smell all weird now. 

​​​​​​Mae-Bell​​​​

It’s the fabric softener. Downy infusions. Scent: Romantic.​​​​​

Later, we passed around the conversation to weigh in by committee on whether she meant anything by it. We even consulted the Downy website while Mom handed out homemade eggnog because none of us care for the store bought, and there we learned that the Romantic scent carries “sensual aromas of delicate floral, white tea, and peony,” and at least half of us found it difficult to overlook a smoking gun like “sensual” right there as the subtext. 

After dinner, Mom asked Channing if she’d mind watching the twins for a few minutes while she cleaned the kitchen, and we all took bets on whether Sammy and Mae-Bell would be back together by spring. The holidays can be hard on people, you know. Everyone except for Mom anyway, who just loves an excuse to corral us all together under one roof. Nothing makes her more upset than a year when she has to share Channing and the twins with Doug’s family. This year, Doug’s family was indisposed because they were up in Vermont visiting Doug’s aunt, but they probably could have been in the ICU and Mom would have been just as happy as long asthe result was having Channing and the girls all to herself. Not to be alarmist, but of all the years to up and vanish, you just wouldn’t expect it to be one where Channing was set to be home the whole time. 

Read More About Oh. What. Fun. Here >>

***

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Readers can enter a Rafflecopter Giveaway to win a digital copy of each of the stories and a $50 Amazon Gift Card

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/07c2363f273

Thanks for stopping by, guys! Have a great holiday season!

Adult Fiction · Contemporary · Fantasy · for everyone · Uncategorized

Mini Reviews November Wrap Up

Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber – I think I’m going to like this series more than Caraval.  I love the amount of magical elements that are in this new land.  4/5

Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis (audio) – A wonderful story that gives you hope that everything does happen for a reason.  4/5

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller –  I liked the story but did not fall in love with this book like so many others.  I have always found mythology interesting but the way people treated others in these stories and how the innocents were treated like criminals never sat right with me.  Greek tragedies at their finest.  3/5

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrick Backman (audio) –  This is my third novel by this author and though i enjoyed it I think it isn’t my favorite.  If you love his other books it is worth a read. 3/5

The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson – An adorable book that any book lover would enjoy.  I honestly don’t know what else I could say about it. 4/5

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman (audio) – Whew boy, this is NOT like the movie we all know and love.  I cannot stress how different this story is and though it was ok, I’m afraid I’m going to say it:  THE MOVIE WAS BETTER.   3/5

The Wicked King by Holly Black (audio/book) – I’ve been dragging my feet on continuing this series.  While I’ve started to find more fairy stories that I enjoy, I hate the way everything is political in these books.  Where is the romance?  I feel like a bait and switch was pulled on me.  I’ll finish the series out but unless the next book really cranks up the romance this isn’t a series I’d ever reread. I think I will need a break before reading the next book regardless. 3/5

The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time) by Robert Jordan (audio/book) – I’ve slowly been collecting this series to try and binge and the more I collected the more I realized I would never be able to binge it.  These are hefty books but I wanted to get at least the first one done before the show premiered, which I’ve done by the skin of my teeth. I can tell you I’m not sure what would be better, audio/versus physical but the amount of world building and names being thrown at you is rough.  I struggled for quite awhile to even separate everyone in my head.  I think because of the magnitude of the world if you haven’t started these books yet, start with the show so you can picture the actors as their characters.  Overall the story was great, a true adventure, and if the show is half as good as the book it will be a hit for years to come.  4/5

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood – There was a ton of hype on this one and I think it was justified.  I’ve only recently started back reading more books classified as romance (haven’t read much in this genre since high school).  I’m 100% on board with the grumpy/sunshine trope and I’d love more recs for it!  My only issue here is I know this was a Kelo Ren/Rey thing so I immediately saw Adam Driver as the lead and while he is an attractive man I’m not so gung ho about him as others so that threw off a bit for me. Otherwise a great read, I read it over 2 days but only because I started it so late in the day.  I will definitely check out any books by this author in the future.  4/5

The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling – Anything with Gothic vibes is sure to intrigue me enough to investigate but this one fell flat.  Some of the decisions made were beyond ridiculous and the plot was so convoluted that I just couldn’t care about the characters.  It’s hard to root for someone or even care when they were only in a few chapters.  2/5

The Broken Girls by Simone St James (audio) – This is my second book by this author and I can tell you I will be reading her entire backlog.  She perfectly balances ghost stories with thrillers.  4/5

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (audio) – An extremely quick audio that was very entertaining.  Don’s growth was believable and this was one of the most realistic books I’ve ever read.  I can’t wait to see the movie version.  3/5

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey (audio) – After finding Tessa with It Happened One Summer I knew I’d have to go and read some of her older titles.  If you loved that one you will definitely like this one as well. Book one in a three book series, it was very spicy as tiktok would say (think about IHOS on steroids) and a super fast read.   I have book two ready to go!  4/5

Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey – Another series I had to pick up a physical copy of the second book.  So here’s my issue. I don’t like romance books in which the couple is already married and they are working on issues after the fact. It’s depressing and if I’m reading romance it’s not what I’m looking for. With that being said I still read this in a day and Tessa Bailey can write some spicy scenes. 3/5

Tools of Engagement by Tess Bailey (audio) – Probably my least favorite of the series but I’m not sure I can explain why?  Something didn’t sit right for me and I’m going to have to think about it for a while. 3/5

The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox – I’m embracing the holiday season book wise.  This was billed as comparable to The Holiday, Gilmore Girls, The Parent Trap, and the GBBO, none of which are a bad choice.  This has a Hallmark story vibe as well, in fact I’m fairly certain there was a holiday swap with Candace Cameron Bure??  It was a cute read but hard to believe that identical twins who swapped places all the time when they were younger would struggle so much though.   3/5

If the Fates Allow: A Short Story by Rainbow Rowell – a COVID check-in novella with our favorite sarcastic friend Reagan. Cute. I wish it was longer. Can we get a full book on adult Reagan? 3/5

Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah Maclean – One of my 12(but really 13) friends recs for the year.  Overall I liked the story, I wish I knew before starting that it connects (vaguely) to her other books. I’m also very interested in seeing how I’m going to like the third book in this run as he is currently not a good guy. 3/5

Brazen and the Beast by Sarah Maclean – In continuing on with the Bareknuckle Bastard series I can tell you I do like the storylines but I do not like either of the heroines so far and i have absolutely no idea how the villain of both will be redeemed enough in book three for me to like him. I don’t hold much hope at this point. Hattie just thought she could pay back a debt of that size? Would that be fair? People died and that was never brought up. Again, another woman that as written as someone that is supposed to be independent and it just comes off as ignorant to me. 3/5  

Daring and the Duke by Sarah Maclean – I quit. I couldn’t read it. I only got 4-5 chapters in and I was still so mad at the villain getting a book so I can’t rate this one. I don’t think I’ll be able to finish this series but I might try to come back to it at a later date to check.

Divergent Mind: Thriving in a World That Wasn’t Designed for You by Jenara Nerenberg – A very interesting read about women and how they process things while potentially dealing with some mental health concerns and how they are generally misdiagnosed or their diagnose is overlooked.  Very informative.  3/5

Not a bad run for one month in which there was a holiday! How about you? What did you read this month?

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Mini Review: No Words by Meg Cabot (Little Bridge Island #3)

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Author…

Welcome to Little Bridge Island , one of the smallest, most beautiful island in the Florida Keys.

Jo Wright always swore she’d never set foot on Little Bridge Island, not as long as her nemesis, bestselling author Will Price, is living there.

Then Jo’s given an offer she can’t refuse: an all-expensepaid trip to speak and sign at the island’s first-ever book festival.

Even though arrogant Will is the last person Jo wants to see, she really could use the festival’s more-than-generous speaking fee. She’s suffering from a crippling case of writer’s block on the next installment of her bestselling children’s series, and her father needs financial help as well.

Then Jo hears that Will is off-island, on the set of the film of his next book. Hallelujah.

But when she arrive on Little Bridge, Jo is in for a shock. Will is not only at the book festival, but he seems genuinely sorry for his past actions — and more than willing to not only make amends, but prove to Jo that he’s a changed man.

Things seem to be looking upuntil disaster strikes, causing Jo to wonder: Do any of us ever really know anyone?

I loved this book. It’s an enemies to lovers trope, two successful authors with history and bad feelings, thrown together at a small town book festival. Meg Cabot is a master of romance and No Words was just a fun book. The setting is quirky and really makes me long to live there. I recommend this book if you’re into enemies to lovers, small town romance, a funny and endearing cast of characters and a sweet, easy read guaranteed to make you smile as you’re reading. Meg Cabot’s signature wit and humor fills every page.

4/5 stars

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Mini Reviews October Wrap Up

I think overall October was a decent reading month! I’m trying to listen to more audiobooks as you can see.

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson (audio) – Most of the book was great, it was on the way to be a solid 4 or even a 5 star book, but then. . . trigger warning for anyone that hasn’t read this book – there is a pet death.  I will never forgive anyone who rated this high and recommended it without giving me a heads up. I may attempt book two but I will definitely need a little break.  3/5


Too Good to Be Real by Melonie Johnson – This book is absolutely adorable and a very fluffy read. If you love rom coms you will love this book.  3/5


Always Only You by Chloe Liese (audio) – Be still my nerd heart. Book two in the series, I’ve been waiting in the library to get the audio.  I definitely enjoyed this one more than book one, it was nice to see more of the family play a part in the story and I look forward to reading more about them.  4/5


Ever After Always by Chloe Liese (audio) – My least favorite of the series so far.  This one is about the one married sibling whose marriage is in decline. As someone who had a decent home life but far from perfect it bothered me so much that it just seemed because Freya had the idyllic upbringing she couldn’t see how much everything that came so easy to her and her family was a daily struggle for Aiden.  They both held back too much and it felt not quite as believable that it took 10 years to get to this point.  3/5


The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abi Waxman (audio) – Overall a cute story, a realistic start to a relationship as well, but as someone with anxiety I feel like the ball was dropped all around on that.  Also, the “BIG” gesture was utterly ridiculous. 3/5


A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow – A feminist retelling of Sleeping Beauty.  This was a short book, just over 100 pages, and though there will be a second book I feel like this could have been a full book.  There was so much that could have been expanded on IMO.  I’ll definitely check out the next book to see where this goes.  3/5

Lumberjanes Vol 19: A Summer to Remember by Shannon Waters and Kat Leyh – Just as fun as always it was another great installment of the series.  First time that I can remember such a cliffhanger though.  Cute! 3/5

Gideon Fal Vol 6:  The End by Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino, and Dave Stewart – I have a headache from trying to follow this story.  Overall it was a fun time but I’m glad it’s over.  3/5


Well Matched by Jen DeLuca (audio) – I was super excited when this audio dropped at the library!  I flew through it but I think it was my 2nd favorite of the series.  I liked seeing everyone again from the first two books but I missed it not being set at the fair. 3/5


Sadie by Courtney Summers (audio) – Trigger warning, this book has child abuse in it and I hate that I didn’t see one mention of it before starting.  This moved very quickly and the full cast helped make it feel like a true podcast.  A great story but the ending was just ok.  The amount of 5 stars on this one is a bit perplexing to me.  3/5


Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune – After falling in love with Klune’s first adult book I knew this one was an automatic yes and it delivered.  Trigger warning for anyone that has suffered loss, there are mentions of multiple deaths, including suicide. Overall this was a cathartic read but the ending had me in tears.  Regardless of what your beliefs are I know most of us hope there is something after this life and this was a wonderful example of what could be.  5/5


With You Forever by Chloe Liese (audio) – Book four of the seven sibling series.  Overall I’m enjoying the series, at this time this is the last that has been released, but they just all seem a little too good to be true.  I realize this is fiction but this family is above and beyond.  Axel and Rooney were just ok MCs. 3/5


The Storyteller by Dave Grohl (audio) – Narrated by Dave himself this was highly entertaining.  To be taken back to the early days of Nirvana which is when I was a preteen just gave me such a warm fuzzy feeling of nostalgia.  If you love The Foo Fighters, Nirvana, and just music I think you’d love this book.  5/5


The Maidens by Alex Michaelides (audio) – I think I built this one up more than it should have been. I quit halfway so I can’t rate it fairly but I’m still including it since I reached 50%.  I did look up the ending and I can tell you it wouldn’t have been higher than a 3/5 as if I at least finish a book it usually gets that but something tells me I might have gone 2/5. . . this is a skip IMO. 


The Corpse Queen by Heather M. Herrman – Fairly ok read till about 70%. At that point I just didn’t care about the MC anymore and the ending was a huge let down. 3/5Loki:  Agent of Asgard Vol 3:  Last Days by Al Ewing – I was completely lost and couldn’t remember anything from the first two volumes.  Still overall enjoyable, it is Loki after all.  3/5.The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (audio) – This was a 13 books recommended by friends to read this year and though I’d already had it down to read I’m glad it was rec’ed because it was absolutely wonderful. I’ll write more when I post the list later.  5/5

What about you? What did you read this month?

for everyone · Random Stuff · Review

September Monthly Reading Recap Mini Reviews

I’ve had some problems with reading this month guys.  I have some things going on personally that sucked all my motivation to read out.  I did finish a few books though so let’s see. . . 


How to Stop Time by Matt Haig  (audio) – A bit of a slow start and I was very worried towards the end but it came back around.  A delightful read, can’t wait to read more from this author.  4/5


Kill Joy by Holly Jackson (novella) – I liked the murder mystery story and it was entertaining enough for me to request the first book via audio (though I haven’t started it yet). 3/5


Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tess Bailey – Boy did I like the first book in this series so I was super excited to get to read this one early!!  If you’ve read the first one this one holds up though a lot less sexy times and a lot more emotional growth.  I will definitely be looking for more of Ms Bailey’s books to read.  4/5

Birthright Vol 9:  War of the Worlds by Joshua Williamson – I honestly don’t know what is happening.  I forgot so many of the characters it felt like I was starting over.  3/5


Birthright Vol 10:  Epilogue by Joshua Williamson – Another graphic novel ends.  I liked the ending but I didn’t love the ending ya know?  I guess everyone can’t get a happy ending.  3/5

What did you read this month?  Hopefully I’ll have a much larger list to report back on next month!  Happy reading!!

Adult Fiction · Chick Lit · Contemporary · Fantasy · Random Stuff · YA

Mini Reviews August Wrap Up

This is what I read in August. . . let’s see how September goes!


Carry On by Rainbow Rowell  – I’m so excited to finally be in this world fully!  It’s hard to not see Harry Potter characters in my head while listening but I enjoyed trying to mash them up to see who is who. I loved it, and I loved what I think were small references to a few other author’s books. Nice to see Levi’s coffee creation lives on. 5/5

Ice Planet Barbarian Honeymoon by Ruby Dixon – Did I do the two month free trial of kindle unlimited to keep reading these? SIGH. MAYBE. It’s interesting enough to continue that’s for sure. This was just a quick inbetween story. 3/5


Rise of the Witch by C. Rochelle – This is a reverse harem surrounding Baba Yaga lore that I heard about through tiktok, the author popped up on my FYP.  When you see RH you think one thing but there was an actual story here and it was really good! The writing wasn’t as great though so I think I’ll stop here in the series. 4/5


It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey (audio)- This is my first book by Ms Bailey but it will absolutely not be my last.  The male lead is an example of why you shouldn’t settle.  WOWZA.  It moved fast but the story was great and the characters were likeable; fair warning the audio isn’t something I’d listen to without headphones.  Can’t wait to read Hannah and Fox’s story! 4/5


The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown (audio) – I’ve listened to Daring Greatly at least five times so far but have never listened to this one.  I feel like I pick up something new with each listen of her books and this one I think will be the same (I will definitely have to relisten).  While I fully understand and agree with her thoughts I still can’t make myself follow her advice out of fear.  5/5


Neon Gods by Katee Robert (audio) – Another new to me author, though I’m not sure if this was a rec by a friend or something I found on TIktok too.  I know I see the author on my FYP so anything is possible.  This was a “spicy” retelling of Hades and Persephone.  It wasn’t a bad story, but something was missing for me.  I’ll probably continue with the series though.  3/5


The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson (audio) – This was my favorite in the series by far!  Loved the mystery in it and most of it was a complete surprise.  BUT. . .while I’m aware of Stevie being a teen I feel like Stevie made absolutely no growth or learned a single thing from the main series.  A lot of selfish things were done and I wasn’t a fan.  I feel like everyone else grew overall though.  I also think it would have been a little better reading versus audio, the narrator’s interpretation of the male voices threw me a bit. 4/5


Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher (audio) – I’d been wanting to read this one for a long time.  Something about it told me it would be special.  Grief is hard and it is unique to every single person.  It was a wonderful and heartbreaking book though it read more like I was reading a Nicholas Sparks novel.  I wouldn’t ever think of a teen speaking like these characters.  4/5


Tweet Cute by Emma Lord – This one is from my 12/12 (but really 13) recommendations from friends.  I’ll have more on that post but overall it was a quick and cute read.  3/5


Giant Days Volume 10 by John Allison, Max Sarin, and Julia Madrigal – It took forever for my library to order these and I’ve been reading as they come in.  Such a cute series, I love Susan and McGraw. 4/5


Giant Days Volume 11 by John Allison, Max Sarin, and Julia Madrigal – Cute as always.  Fingers crossed for Ed! 3/5


Giant Days Volume 12 by John Allison, Max Sarin, and Julia Madrigal – I know things arecoming to an end and I’m sad.  This is by far one of the cutest graphic novel series I’ve ever picked up.  4/5

Conventionally Yours by Annabeth Albert (audio) – Another 12/12 read from friends.  The narrators was very monotone to me at normal speed so I had to speed it up.  Fun fact – before I started reading this book I’d found book two without realizing this was a series and that I’d found book two, LOL.  A cute but awkward read. 3/5  


If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy (audio) – This was a bout of books choice.  This was a hard one to rate.  I loved the story overall and the audio – it gave me Beauty Queens from Libba Bray vibes but on the other hand I HATE the premise of The Bachelor.  The idea of a group of women fighting over one man makes me want to punch a wall.  You only see from Cindy’s POV as well so you just have to hope Henry’s intentions are pure.  I almost went with 3 stars on this one but there was a letter written by someone near the end that had me crying.  4/5


The Comfort Book by Matt Haig – A self-help/inspirational book about when you are feeling low and need a pick me up.  It’s definitely worth a look.  3/5


Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin – This was a book I carried around for a long time, never opened, and when I finally sat down to read I was mad at myself for waiting so long.  I think the size was more off putting than anything but it moved quickly.  Glad I already have book two ready to go! 4/5


Rat Queens Volume 8 The God Dilemma by Ryan Ferrier, Moritat, Casy Silver, Priscilla Petraites, & Marco Lesko – To be completely honest I’m completely lost to the storyline of this series.  I have no idea what is going on anymore but I’m going to keep reading.  3/5

Bout of Books · Challenge

Bout of Books

Hey guys!  I know it has been a minute but we decided we are officially participating in this round of Bout of Books!


Let’s get right to the point, reading goals.  We are both extreme mood readers so no titles will be listed but we do have ideas on how many books we want to complete during the bout!


Daph’s goals for the week:


4 Books Total


1 library book

1 book owned

2 audio books


I’m not going to make myself feel bad for not meeting anything I’m listing below but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try!


I’d like to clear at least two, preferably three audiobooks.  I’d also like to clear 2-3 books from my 12 in 12 (but really 13) friend recs for the year.  We are supposed to read one a month and I’m a bit behind so I’m trying to play catch up here since I’ve already met my goodreads reading goal for the year (yay!).  I’d also like to clear 2-3 books off my own shelf, as well as read one ebook (I have a free trial on kindle unlimited right now) AND finish at least one series.


Please note this sounds like A LOT of books but I can think of at least two in my TBR that can cover almost all of these options.  LOL.


Kristina’s Goals:


2-3 audio books

2-3 12/12 friend rec books

2-3 books owned


1 ebook already downloaded

finish one series – can be something already started or a full series in the week


What about you guys?  What are you trying to read for this bout?  I can’t wait to see and I wish you luck on all your goals!

Uncategorized

Mini Reviews/July Wrap Up

I haven’t read much this month, there has been a lot going on work wise and family wise.  I have decided I need to start writing again on some level so to ease myself into reviews again we are going to try for 1-3 mini review posts each month.  I’m not going to set an exact number in case I move on to full reviews or read one book and don’t post till the end of the month but either way I want to share what I’m reading and what I thought!  

Gideon Falls Volume 5:  Wicked Worlds by Jeff Lemire/Andrea Sorrentino – This story has turned dramatically, I don’t think I saw anything happening coming, and I honestly don’t know where it is going anymore.  3/5


Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon (audio) – Once I got past the quite horrible opening (not the writing, the acts happening) it actually was a fun story and not as steamy as booktok made it out to be.  Maybe that’s in later books?  I’d continue with the series.  3/5


Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (audio) – This was a reread via audio to read the Carry On series.  Still adorable, still love it.  5/5


Fangirl Vol 1:  The Manga by Rainbow Rowell, adapted by Sam Maggs/Gabi Nam – Just another version of the above.  Adorable.  5/5


Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne (audio) – This is the second book I’ve read by Sally and it was pretty cute, there were multiple secondary characters I’d love to know more about, I hope we can revisit this setting again! 3/5

The Dead Mom’s Club by Kate Spencer – The second I knew this book existed I requested it from the library.  Every single person goes through grief differently but being another member of the Dead Mom’s Club in a somewhat similar way to the author helped me in feeling validated in how I grieve.  This made me feel more normal than I have in quite some time.  5/5


Lumberjanes Vol 17:  Smitten in the Stars and Vol 18:  Horticultural Horizons by Shannon Watters – These are like reading a friendly hug.  The adventures the Janes get up to are always entertaining.  3/5

What about you? What did you read in July?

Uncategorized

Top Ten Tuesday: 06/22/2021

Today’s Top Ten list?


List the top 10 books you’d love to own and include a link to a wishlist so that people can grant your wish. 

First, happy birthday Jana!! Thank you for all you do with exchanges and hosting TTT.

I’m going to list 10 physical books/series I’d love to own/read but there are also several ebooks on my wishlist that I’m just as excited for.  


Link: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/2V4JZCCNFOAA2?ref_=wl_share


Darling by K. Ancrum – second Peter Pan retelling that came out this month and I’m here for it!


The Second:  Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America – The older I get the more nonfiction I read.  There are so many aspects of life so many of us have remained ignorant to and it is time to learn and be a part of change.  

The Burning:  The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 by Tim Madigan – I’m still floored that we didn’t learn about this in school and I want to learn more about it.


The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin – I heard about this on a podcast and frankly after 2020 we could all use all the happiness we can get.


The Poe Estate by Polly Shulman – I’ve read the first book in the series, though I don’t own it and I would love to finally finish it this year!


The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso – Really the entire Swords and Fire series.  I’m not sure how I stumbled across these books but this sound like a fantastic fantasy world.


The King of Bones and Ashes by J.D. Horn – A series (Witches of New Orleans) set in my state?  Yes please!


Circe & Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller – They’ve been on my TBR forever but booktok and made me want to bump them up on the TBR list.


The Kingdom of Grit series by Tyler Whitesides – Again, another I don’t know how I stumbled across it but it sounds epic!!


The Broken Earth series by N. K. Jemisin – These sound great and I do not know why I haven’t already read them!

What about you? I can’t wait to see what some of you have listed and maybe add more to wishlist! Thanks for stopping by!!!

Uncategorized

The Year of Reading

First let me start with the elephant in the room.  Yes, we haven’t been posting in quite a bit. We know.  We were burned out, work/life got in the way, etc there are just so many reasons why we took a hiatus but hopefully you won’t mind seeing us around.  Daphne started a blog insta (@kiki.daphne) but we are a bit behind the times on the bookstagram and booktok.  While I love both, we are just a bit of dinosaurs I guess when it comes to posting and though we are going to work on changing the way we post we will probably still post here first and foremost. 


So. . . .with that out of the way, let’s talk about my year of reading!


Though I seem to live in an area that is pretending the pandemic didn’t happen (and still is really – though most restrictions have eased) and all is well I’ve done my best to stay home as much as possible.  Though at times very boring and slightly claustrophobic it has been a huge help for my reading schedule.  As I write this I’ve almost completed my 2021 goodreads challenge and we aren’t even halfway through the year!  I’m over 40 books ahead of schedule and I’m so proud of myself! A big thing for me is starting and/or completing multiple series this year. I have huge issues with letting go of series and another thing I’ve had to do because of that is rereads.  When I hold off on completing a series I tend to forget what happened and have to go back and read the entire series again and that is just making the TBR grow MORE.  I literally am at almost 900 books TBR and that is after I took off almost 100 in a goodreads purge last month so things are getting serious.  I just wanted to share what I’ve been able to complete so far and what I’m hoping to complete in the rest of the year.  I want to look back in December and be able to say this was DONE.


Series I’ve completed/caught up on in 2021 so far:


The Bridgertons by Julia Quinn 


The Queen’s Thief by Magen Walen Turner 


Fable by Adrienne Young


The Brown Sisters by Talia Hibbert


Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (reread for the show)

The Smythe-Smiths by Julia Quinn


Moose Springs, Alaska by Sarah Morgenthaler

Well Met by Jen Deluca (caught up, waiting on the next book!)


The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (part reread part finishing series)  

Caraval by Stephanie Garber (part reread, part finishing series)  

Series I’m hoping to complete/catch up on during 2021:

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Sands of Arawiya by Hafsah FAizal (part reread, part finishing series)

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater (reread 1-3 took place in 2020, reading Raven King now so in progress!)

The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E Pearson (part reread, part finishing)

Dance of Thieves by Mary E Pearson

Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers (reread His Fair Assassin in 2020)

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Now is this list complete?  NO!  I plan on still mood reading my way through this and any other book I might come across and it is highly possible I won’t get to everything or MAYBE I’ll get through all of them and add more?  Hmmm. . . though if you believe I can do all that, I might have some ocean front property in Arizona for sale. . . .


What about you guys?  Has the pandemic helped you in the reading department?  If you have more suggestions for me please email me, suggest it on goodreads, or even find me on twitter!!