Bookish Features

June 2021 Wrap Up

June

Books Read: 3

Pages Read: 1,369

Currently Reading:

Life:

    • Completed April 2021 Paper Pumpkin
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    • Completed May 2021 Paper Pumpkin
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    • Alex Toussaint’s Ride to Greatness Challenge: Game 4 on Peloton
    • Completed Annie’s Kit Club April 2021 Farmhouse Style (Rise & Shine Chalkboards)
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  • My sister’s wedding (I was Maid of Honor)
  • Went Downtown with family from out of state (Don’t mind my eyes…super sunny)

My Posts:

July

Tentative TBR:

Life:

  • Catch up on all of my crafts
  • List products I made on Poshmark
  • Garage Sale
  • My friend Jenna’s wedding (Standing Up)
  • Visiting Colorado to look for houses to rent!

What books did you read in June?!

Bookish Features

May 2021 Wrap Up

May

Books Read: 4

Pages Read: 1,683

Life:

    • My sister’s Bridal Shower
    • Volleyball started
    • Finished making stemless wine tumblers for my sister’s Bachelorette party
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    • Helped my friend make masks for her friend’s bachelorette
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    • Made mask’s for my sister’s bachelorette party (and a tank for her)
    • My sister’s Bachelorette Party
    • Alex Toussaint’s Ride to Greatness Challenge: Game 3 on Peloton
    • My friend’s Bachelorette Party

My Posts:

June

Tentative TBR:

Life:

  • Catch up on all of my crafts
  • Sister’s wedding

What books did you read in May?!

Bookish Features

April 2021 Wrap Up

April

Books Read: 5

Pages Read: 1,276

Currently Reading:

Life:

    • Alex Toussaint’s Ride to Greatness Challenge: Game 1 on Peloton
    • Rock Climbing for the first time (& second!)
    • Completed my first belaying course!
    • Watched Shadow & Bone with this glass I designed on Cricut while drinking my GoT Pinot Noir wine
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    • Completed March 2021 Annie’s Kit Clubs Simply Beads
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    • Finished making shirts and stemless wine tumblers for my sister’s Bachelorette party

My Posts:

May

Tentative TBR:

Life:

  • Alex Toussaint’s Ride to Greatness Challenge: Games 2 & 3 on Peloton
  • Michael Chandler UFC fight 😉
  • My friend is coming to visit 🙂
  • My sister’s Bridal Shower
  • Two Bachelorette parties
  • Catch up on all of my crafts
  • Volleyball starts
  • List products I made on Poshmark

What books did you read in April?!

Book Reviews

Letters Across the Sea by Genevieve Graham

Letters Across the SeaTitle: Letters Across the Sea
Author: Genevieve Graham
Rating: ★★★★★
Inspired by a little-known chapter of World War II history, a young Protestant girl and her Jewish neighbour are caught up in the terrible wave of hate sweeping the globe on the eve of war in this powerful love story that’s perfect for fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

If you’re reading this letter, that means I’m dead. I had obviously hoped to see you again, to explain in person, but fate had other plans.

1933

At eighteen years old, Molly Ryan dreams of becoming a journalist, but instead she spends her days working any job she can to help her family through the Depression crippling her city. The one bright spot in her life is watching baseball with her best friend, Hannah Dreyfus, and sneaking glances at Hannah’s handsome older brother, Max.

But as the summer unfolds, more and more of Hitler’s hateful ideas cross the sea and “Swastika Clubs” and “No Jews Allowed” signs spring up around Toronto, a city already simmering with mass unemployment, protests, and unrest. When tensions between the Irish and Jewish communities erupt in a riot one smouldering day in August, Molly and Max are caught in the middle, with devastating consequences for both their families.

1939

Six years later, the Depression has eased and Molly is a reporter at her local paper. But a new war is on the horizon, putting everyone she cares about most in peril. As letters trickle in from overseas, Molly is forced to confront what happened all those years ago, but is it too late to make things right?

From the desperate streets of Toronto to the embattled shores of Hong Kong, Letters Across the Sea is a poignant novel about the enduring power of love to cross dangerous divides even in the darkest of times—from the #1 bestselling author of The Forgotten Home Child.

I received this novel from NetGalley and Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.

Letters Across the Sea is a story about the hardships experienced for Canadians both fighting in unfamiliar lands and those who stayed behind. The novel follows Molly, a girl who dreams of one day becoming a journalist, but is doing whatever she can to provide for her family during the Depression, and Max, a Jewish boy dreaming of being a doctor, but enlisted to serve his country. With tensions raised because of discrimination against Jews and suffering caused by the Depression, many families are struggling to find enough food to eat, jobs, and a sense of belonging. 

Graham introduces readers to a battle fought in WW2 that many are not familiar with. I’m a big WW2 history buff, but I have never heard of this devastating battle, possibly because it consisted of Canadian troops. This novel spurred me wanting to research other countries’ battles in wars that the United States was involved in. I believe that sometimes we are only shown the side of history that may not necessarily hold the full story. Who knew how involved the Canadians were? Not me! 

The historical aspect displayed by Graham shows an interesting side to WW2 that is very rarely mentioned when WW2 discussion is involved: the treatment of certain groups of people back home. Anti-Semitism is not only present in Germany, but many other countries. While everyone can give their lives to help with the war, the people back home have a hard time accepting one another because of differences. Protests are not usually mentioned with WW2, but many people were wanting the right to heard and treated the same as everyone else, whether it be with getting a job, being able to enter establishments, or anything we take for granted.

While the story was predictable, this was such a fun and fast read! I felt like I was living my past life / the life I want (haha). Readers who love romance with a historical twist will love this novel.

Letters Across the Sea is a story of two completely different people who find themselves finding love in the most unlikely of places, especially when it seems like everything and everyone is trying to tear them apart. Basham expertly weaves together the past and later in a story of love, diversity, and the power of forgiveness.

Bookish Features

March 2021 Wrap Up

March

Books Read: 5

Pages Read: 2,250

Currently Reading:

Life:

    • Made goatmilk soap for the first time

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    • Started making shirts and stemless wine tumblers for my sister’s Bachelorette party
    • Finished listing book things on Poshmark
    • Started kickboxing again!
    • Worked out every day of the month
    • Was able to start hiking!

My Posts:

April

Tentative TBR:

Life:

  • Alex Toussaint’s Ride to Greatness Challenge on Peloton
  • Birthday dinner for my kickboxing friend
  • Shadow and Bone comes out on Netflix! Can’t wait to see my man, Mal!
  • Michael Chandler UFC fight 😉
  • My friend is coming to visit 🙂

What books did you read in March?!

Book Reviews

Hope Between the Pages by Pepper D. Basham

Hope Between the PagesTitle: Hope Between the Pages
Author: Pepper D. Basham
Rating: ★★★★

Uncover the Story Behind a One-Hundred-Year-Old Love Letter

Walk through Doors to the Past via a new series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

Clara Blackwell helps her mother manage a struggling one-hundred-year old family bookshop in Asheville, North Carolina, but the discovery of a forgotten letter opens a mystery of a long-lost romance and undiscovered inheritance which could save its future. Forced to step outside of her predictable world, Clara embarks on an adventure with only the name Oliver as a hint of the man’s identity in her great-great-grandmother’s letter. From the nearby grand estate of the Vanderbilts, to a hamlet in Derbyshire, England, Clara seeks to uncover truth about family and love that may lead to her own unexpected romance.

I received this novel from NetGalley and Barbour Fiction in exchange for an honest review.

Hope Between the Pages is the second novel in The Doors to the Past series. Just like in the first novel, the story follows two women over a century apart: Sadie, a young servant girl who works in the Biltmore library during WW1, and Clara, her great-granddaughter who runs the bookstore that Sadie started. The stories collide when a neighboring store offers to buy Blackwell’s bookstore and the deed is unable to be found. Delving back into family history, Clara embarks on a journey to save the bookshop and find out more about her mysterious great-grandmother’s love life.

Basham seamlessly intertwines the lives of Sadie and Clara, while infusing readers with clues to uncovering Sadie’s mysterious love life. Unlike the last novel, the women are related instead of the men. I love discovering the similarities between the two women and how love stumbles upon them. 

Hope Between the Pages is a story of two women who find themselves finding love in the most unlikely of places (and people!) and circumstances. Basham expertly weaves together the past and the present in a story of love, adversity, and good surpassing evil.

Book Reviews

Red Tigress (Blood Heir, #2) by Amelie Wen Zhao

Red TigressTitle: Red Tigress (Blood Heir, #2)
Author: Amelie Wen Zhao
Rating: ★★★

Fans of Children of Blood and Bone will love the sequel to Blood Heir. The second book in an epic fantasy series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the con man she must trust to liberate her empire from a dark reign.

Ana Mikhailov is the only surviving member of the royal family of Cyrilia. She has no army, no title, and no allies, and now she must find a way to take back the throne or risk the brutal retribution of the empress. Morganya is determined to establish a new world order on the spilled blood of non-Affinites. Ana is certain that Morganya won’t stop until she kills them all.

Ana’s only chance at navigating the dangerous world of her homeland means partnering with Ramson Quicktongue again. But the cunning crime lord has schemes of his own. For Ana to find an army, they must cross the Whitewaves to the impenetrable stone forts of Bregon. Only, no one can be certain what they will find there.

A dark power has risen. Will revolution bring peace–or will it only paint the streets in more blood.

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Red Tigress is a compelling story based on oppression, prejudice, and overcoming familial expectations. Ana is known to the world as a blood witch and seen as a monster. Her family even kept her hidden away from the rest of the world until one day she escapes and attempts to prove everyone wrong. Affinites are people who have powers and are condemned to a terrible life or are used as puppets. Seeking revenge for the death of her family, she finds a stranger along the way who is seeking to destroy the same person. But maybe something more evolves out of what they both share.

Some rulers’ reigns were forged with steel, some with gold, and some with might.
And mine, Ana thought, closing her eyes. Mine is forged by blood.

Morganya has taken over Ana’s rightful throne. Ana’s only chance to take back what is hers is to find an ancient weapon that if found in the wrong hands, will change Cyrilia as they know it and change normal people into Affinites. Once again, Ana and Ramson cross paths on their way to Ramson’s home country, Bregon, where Affinites are being trafficked.

After arriving in Bregon, things start to go haywire. Looking for an alliance with Bregon, Ana finds herself revealing the true identity of Ramson, who was actually behind the Affinite trafficking and how it was all strategically planned out, and who is controlling the puppet King of Bregon. Who can be trusted? How can everyone work together to fulfill their own agendas? Along the way, Ana starts to figure out who she is.

My one complaint is that it was hard to re-figure out the characters since it has been a while since reading The Blood Heir. I had a hard time remembering the role everyone played in the last installment and what their end goals were.

I will always choose what’s best for Cyrilia

Red Tigress was a twisted story of betrayal about one girl discovering who she really is. Readers who love loyalty, deception, and a twisted plot will love Red Tigress.

Book Reviews

[BLOG TOUR & Q&A] The Iron Raven (The Iron Fey: Evenfall, #1) by Julie Kagawa

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Welcome to my stop on The Iron Raven book tour! Thank you to Inkyard Press for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour stop!


ABOUT THE BOOK

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Title: THE IRON RAVEN
Author: Julie Kagawa
Pub. Date: February 9, 2021
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Genre: Teen; Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy; Folklore and Fairytale; Paranormal romance
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&N, IndieBoundBooks-A-MillionAppleBooksGoogle Play

Wicked faeries and fantastic danger… Welcome to book one of the new trilogy in New York Times bestselling author Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey fantasy series, as infamous prankster Puck finally has a chance to tell his story and stand with allies new and old to save Faery and the world.

“YOU MAY HAVE HEARD OF ME…”

Robin Goodfellow. Puck. Prankster, joker, raven, fool… King Oberon’s right-hand jester from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The legends are many, but the truth will now be known as never before, as Puck finally tells his own story and faces a threat to the lands of Faery and the human world unlike any before.

With the Iron Queen Meghan Chase and her prince consort, Puck’s longtime rival Ash, and allies old and new by his side, Puck begins a fantastical and dangerous adventure not to be missed or forgotten. Filled with myths and faery lore, romance and unfathomable dangers, The Iron Raven is book one of a new epic fantasy trilogy set in the world of The Iron Fey.


REVIEW

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

Wait, hold up. Wrong story.”

From my understanding, this is a continuation off of Kagawa’s The Iron Fey series, but this time from Robin “Puck” Goodfellow’s viewpoint. Having not read the previous series, readers will not be misplaced. The story starts sometime later with a new problem, just with recurring characters.

Here is a little background that I gathered: Puck is an arrogant bastard (haha) who lost his love to a Winter fey and has been sulking ever since. Meghan Chase aka The Iron Queen is the amour to both Puck and Ash. Always looking for an opportunity to kill each other, they somehow always end up on the same side.

The crew of estranged lover, worst enemy, lost love, and lost memory bond together in order to stop a mysterious darkness that is creeping over the land.

Kagawa always does a great job of incorporating the land into her stories. We meet different cultures, see vast geography, and come across the paranormal. Her characters are based off her culture or some very familiar races living jointly in the world…but with a twist.

Things I Liked

  • World-building
  • Character Vulnerability
  • The magic system – while not well-explained in this novel, I’m sure there is more explanation in The Iron Fey series
  • Ash – I have a feeling I will really like him when I read The Iron Fey series

Things I Didn’t Like

  • The “MC” – he was just too cocky for me – I felt like I was potentially missing out on the truth of some parts of the story since he exaggerates a lot
  • Meghan – I never like those hoes who lead two guys on – look at the lasting damage she did!
  • The ending – this felt like it could’ve been a standalone and ended just with the destruction of the darkness. It felt a little like grasping for more.

Knowing me, you’d know that I could care less about character development and care more about the action, but Puck ended up not being as douchey as I originally thought, so I appreciated that. 

Having read The Shadow of the Fox, I felt more detached from these stories than those. I enjoyed this novel, but it may have been better designed as a novella. Again, it could’ve been because I haven’t read The Iron Fey, but the culture was harder to read because we weren’t staying as long in one portion of the land.

The Iron Raven is a tale of coming together despite difference in order to preserve good. Readers who like a story where the good guys win and the bad get what they deserve will love this novel.

★★★★


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julie Kagawa_Hires2017 (1)

JULIE KAGAWA is the New York Times, USA TODAY and internationally bestselling author of The Iron Fey, Blood of Eden, The Talon Saga and the Shadow of the Fox series. Born in Sacramento, she has been a bookseller and an animal trainer and enjoys reading, painting, playing in her garden and training in martial arts. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and a plethora of pets. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Follow Julie:
Website| FaceBookInstagram | Twitter| Goodreads


 

Q&A

Q: What was the hardest scene to write in The Iron Raven? What was the easiest?

A: I can’t say too much without giving away spoilers, but the hardest scene in The Iron Raven was near the very end of the book when they’re fighting the final Big Bad, and Puck does a completely Puck-ish thing to give them a fighting chance. It was random and irreverent and completely ridiculous, so I had to get it just right to avoid making it cheesy. The easiest scene was one where Puck and Ash were semi-seriously threatening each other, because I know those two so well and it was all rather familiar.

Q: Did you hide any secrets in your book? (names of friends, little jokes, references to things only some people will get)?

A: Lol, well I’m going to reveal my absolute geekiness and say that the name of the newest character, Nyx, is actually my D&D character, a dragon-hating elven assassin. There were a few tweaks, of course, but Nyx is…well, me in a D&D campaign. 😛

Q: What do you hope people remember about The Iron Raven?

A: I hope The Iron Raven brings back the feel of the first Iron Fey novels, where everything was new and surreal and exciting. I hope readers will experience the same wonder and belief in magic, friendship, love and heroism that I tried to present in the first series.

Q: Did The Iron Raven have a certain soundtrack you listened to while writing?

A: My music tastes are eclectic, but I do listen to a lot of Two Steps From Hell while writing, because its mostly instrumental and they have some epic soundtracks.

Q: What is your dream cast for The Iron Raven?

A: I am so bad at this question I don’t even think I can answer it. Apologies, but I really am terrible at remembering actors and actresses. This is a great question for fans, though. Who would your dream cast be for an Iron Fey series?

Book Reviews

The Lady in Residence by Allison Pittman

The Lady in ResidenceTitle: The Lady in Residence
Author: Allison Pittman
Rating: ★★★★★

Can a Legacy of Sadness be Broken at the Menger Hotel?

Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.

Young widow Hedda Krause checks into the Menger Hotel in 1915 with a trunk full of dresses, a case full of jewels, and enough cash to pay for a two-month stay, which she hopes will be long enough to meet, charm, and attach herself to a new, rich husband. Her plans are derailed when a ghostly apparition lures her into a long, dark hallway, and Hedda returns to her room to find her precious jewelry has been stolen. She falls immediately under a cloud of suspicion with her haunting tale, but true ghost enthusiasts bring her expensive pieces of jewelry in an attempt to lure the ghost to appear again.

In 2017, Dini Blackstone is a fifth-generation magician, who performs at private parties, but she also gives ghost walk tours, narrating the more tragic historical events of San Antonio with familial affection. Above all, her favorite is the tale of Hedda Krause who, in Dini’s estimation, succeeded in perpetrating the world’s longest con, dying old and wealthy from her ghost story. But then Dini meets Quinn Carmichael, great-great-grandson of the detective who originally investigated Hedda’s case, who’s come to the Alamo City with a box full of clues that might lead to Hedda’s exoneration. Can Dini see another side of the story that is worthy of God’s grace?

I received this novel from NetGalley and Barbour Fiction in exchange for an honest review.

The Lady in Residencec is the start to collaboration of the present and the past in The Doors to the Past series. I don’t know if it was divine intervention or just perfect time, but I started reading this while watching Alias Grace on Netflix. The story follows two women over a century apart: Hedda Krause, a young widow staying at the Menger Hotel, and Dini Blackstone, a magician who gives ghost tours. The stories collide when Quinn Carmichael, a descendent of the detective in charge of the case of Hedda Krause’s robbed room, embarks on one of Dini’s ghost tours.

Who doesn’t love a good ghost story?! Or an unsolved case?! Pittman seamlessly intertwines the lives of Hedda (1915) and Dini (2017), while walking readers through the solving of the mystery. The chapters alternate between Hedda and Dini. As the story advances, the reader starts to see similarities between Hedda and Dini. Both girls are slowly falling in love…and with men who happen to be related! While the case was never solved, Dini and Quinn believe with her knowledge of Hedda’s novel and his family heirlooms, they can solve the case of who Sallie, the ghost, really is, and why she stole Hedda’s jewelry from her late husband.

The Lady in Residence is a story of two women who find themselves finding more than they ever wished and coming to terms with the truth of Sallie. Pittman expertly weaves together the past and the present in a story of love, mystery, and the paranormal.

Book Reviews

Written in Starlight (Woven in Moonlight, #2) by Isabel Ibanez

Written in StarlightTitle: Written in Starlight (Woven in Moonlight, #2)
Author: Isabel Ibanez
Rating: ★★★

An adventerous South American Tomb Raider! This hotly anticipated companion to Woven in Moonlight follows an outcast Condesa, as she braves the jungle to forge an alliance with the lost city of gold.

If the jungle wants you, it will have you…

Catalina Quiroga is a Condesa without a country. She’s lost the Inkasisa throne, the loyalty of her people, and her best friend. Banished to the perilous Yanu Jungle, Catalina knows her chances of survival are slim, but that won’t stop her from trying to escape. It’s her duty to reclaim the throne.

When Manuel, the son of her former general, rescues Catalina from a jaguar, a plan forms. Deep in the jungle, the city of gold is hidden, home to the fierce Illari people, who she could strike an alliance with.

But the elusive Illari are fighting a battle of their own—a mysterious blight is corrupting the jungle, laying waste to everything they hold dear. As a seer, Catalina should be able to help, but her ability to read the future in the stars is as feeble as her survival instincts. While searching for the Illari, Catalina must reckon with her duty and her heart to find her true calling, which could be the key to stopping the corruption before it destroys the jungle completely.

I received this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Written in Starlight is the continuation of the fantasy series Woven in Moonlight. This was definitely different than most other series. In this novel, we follow Catalina instead of Ximena, who took us on her journey in the last book. I’m not entirely sure if I believe that this novel was necessary to the storyline overall until the very last few chapters. I missed Ximena’s viewpoint.

Woven in Moonlight leaves off with Catalina being betrayed by her best friend Ximena. While both wanted the removal of Atoc, Ximena wanted the best person for the job, which she thought to be Princess Tamaya. After refusing to submit to Tamaya, Catalina is sent to fare in the middle of the jungle. If she can make it out alive, she is absolved of all. The problem is making it out alive, among the deadly beasts and plants, and who knows what else.

Shortly after entering the forest, Catalina runs into someone we have all been curious about: Manuel. Where are all of these girls finding these selfless men and where do I get one?! Manuel is finally ready to return home only to be forced on another journey to find the illusive Illari.

Proving their truest hearts and tackling many obstacles, the Condessa and Manuel prove not only their physical strength, but their mental, as well. Not to mention, some low-key flirting. The growth of Catalina is apparent. The physical and emotional struggles that both Manuel and Catalina face is real and not forced. While predictable, Written in Starlight is a pleasant read for those who want to adventure into the unknown while getting a little into the “feels”. 

Anyone else wonder why the King wasn’t saved?

Readers do not have to read Woven in Moonlight, however, it is recommended if you are an order person like myself. 

Written in Starlight is a story of one girl who finds herself, can admit when she is wrong, and will do what is best for those around her. Ibanez brings readers a story of adventure, love, and the lasting ties of friendship.