Can’t Wait Wednesday | 1/5

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings based on the meme Waiting on Wednesday by Breaking the Spine. In this weekly post people share a book that they’re excited about being released.

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston was easily my favorite book of last year, so I have eagerly been awaiting its sequel. Thankfully it comes out in February!

After finding her brother and saving the entire supernatural world, Amari Peters is convinced her first full summer as a Junior Agent will be a breeze.

But between the fearsome new Head Minister’s strict anti-magician agenda, fierce Junior Agent rivalries, and her brother Quinton’s curse steadily worsening, Amari’s plate is full. So when the secretive League of Magicians offers her a chance to stand up for magiciankind as its new leader, she declines. She’s got enough to worry about!

But her refusal allows someone else to step forward, a magician with dangerous plans for the League. This challenge sparks the start of the Great Game, a competition to decide who will become the Night Brothers’ successor and determine the future of magiciankind.

The Great Game is both mysterious and deadly, but among the winner’s magical rewards is Quinton’s last hope—so how can Amari refuse?

Happy reading!

Check-in | Series I Want to Finish in 2022

Hey everyone! Since it’s the beginning of the year I’ve been thinking about goals and things I want to accomplish in 2022 and one of the things I wanted to touch on was the series I would really like to check off my list this year – some of them are carry overs from last year, I won’t lie. Let’s get into it!

Fruits Basket – I meant to finish this one up in 2021 but it just didn’t happen, I’m currently on volume six out of twelve.

Kamisama Kiss – This is another one I was hoping to complete in 2021 and I almost did it, but not quite. I’m currently reading volume 20 of 25.

Nancy Drew Reread – I’m currently on book 20 of my reread of this series, there isn’t really a defined time period on this one as it’s purely for enjoyment, but I would like to read more of them this year than I did last year.

Krewe of Hunters series – I’ve been reading this series by Heather Graham for a while but I am behind by quite a few books. I would ideally like to get caught up on this series this year.

Those are the specific series I’d like to work on this year, but there are always trilogies and such that I would like to complete. We’ll see how I do!

Happy reading!

Review | The Ghoul Next Door by Cullen Bunn

Eleven-year-old Grey lives in the legend-haunted New England town of Ander’s Landing, and he can’t help but feel like a pair of eyes is watching his every move.

He discovers odd, gruesome bits and pieces from the graveyard that are left for him as gifts like art carved from bones or jewelry made from (hopefully not human) remains. Soon Grey is caught up in something bigger than he could ever have imagined.

He finds himself drawn into a strange mystery involving a race of reclusive subterranean creatures—ghouls, the eaters of the dead! Turns out, his secret admirer is a ghoul named Lavinia. An unlikely friendship forms between them. The only problem is, their friendship breaks traditions—and the punishment is a fate worse than death.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I went into this one based mostly on the title and cover, so I didn’t really know what was going to happen. We follow Grey as he experiences a number of mishaps and weird happenings after having an accident in the graveyard. From then on he gets introduced to the world of ghouls and their lore. The lore created in here about how ghouls came to be was really interesting and one of my favorite parts of the story. I would say if you have younger readers that might get disturbed by ghosts, ghouls and graveyards this one wouldn’t be for them, but it’s a fun story of unlikely friendships and adventure for those who enjoy the subject matter.

Happy reading!

Review | The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman

Magic, a prized resource, is the only thing between peace and war. When magic runs out, four estranged royal siblings must find a new source before their country is swallowed by invading forces. The first in an Indian-inspired duology.

Vira is desperate to get out of her mother’s shadow and establish her legacy as a revered queen of Ashoka. But with the country’s only quarry running out of magic–a precious resource that has kept Ashoka safe from conflict–she can barely protect her citizens from the looming threat of war. And if her enemies discover this, they’ll stop at nothing to seize the last of the magic.

Vira’s only hope is to find a mysterious object of legend: the Ivory Key, rumored to unlock a new source of magic. But in order to infiltrate enemy territory and retrieve it, she must reunite with her siblings, torn apart by the different paths their lives have taken. Each of them has something to gain from finding the Ivory Key–and even more to lose if they fail. Ronak plans to sell it to the highest bidder in exchange for escape from his impending political marriage. Kaleb, falsely accused of assassinating the former maharani needs it to clear his name. And Riya, a runaway who cut all family ties, wants the Key to prove her loyalty to the rebels who want to strip the nobility of its power.

They must work together to survive the treacherous journey. But with each sibling harboring secrets and their own agendas, the very thing that brought them together could tear apart their family–and their world–for good.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I was really excited for this book as it sounded like a debut fantasy that included a fantastic quest, a good amount of angst and sent in Indian inspired fantasy world and for the most part that’s what I got. I really enjoyed the beginning and the set up and felt like real attention was paid to the worldbuilding and making sure that the characters were clearly defined and dynamic in their own right. Once you get past that initial set up however, I did feel the story and plot slow down a bit too much.

At about the halfway point it does start to pick up again and we really get into the meat of the story and characters. I did really like the different POVs and felt that once we got to the meat of the action it was non stop to the end. The slow section did drag down my enjoyment a bit, but the last half of the book was what I wanted out of it and would drive me to pick up the sequel.

Thanks so much to the publisher for sending me a digital copy through NetGalley. The Ivory Key comes out on January 4th, so make sure to pick it up if it sounds like something you will enjoy!

Happy reading!

Happy New Year!

Hey everyone! I just wanted to take the time today to wish everyone a happy new year!

I had a quiet new year’s eve, spent most of it consoling my anxiety filled cat since all of our neighbors were setting off fireworks while also taking it easy and playing a game. We’re not much into reveling for new years in our house, but we celebrate in our own way.

I have no way to know how 2022 is going to go and after bad 2021 was I don’t want to jinx anything by hoping or assuming. Let’s just say we’re going into this with caution.

So what can you expect from the blog this coming year? I’ll be back to posting every day after my few holiday absences the last couple weeks and I’m hoping to be able to bring you even more reviews. I’d love to look into posting some more fun posts, so feel free to comment if you have any post types you’d like to see here!

Happy new year!

2021 Goals – Revisit

Hey everyone! I figured it would be good to revisit my 2021 goals since we are at the end of the year, so let’s take a look.

In regards to reading over 200 books, I have definitely accomplished that this year. I have one more day and there are a couple books/stories I’d like to finish by the end of tomorrow, but as of right now I am sitting at 243.

I did get to more of my backlist and have enjoyed my TBR game, but I wouldn’t call this one a pass or fail. I didn’t do as much as I wanted, but I did make progress. Also, in regarding to blogging, I did blog almost every day this year. The only days I didn’t post a blog were Christmas Eve and Christmas, so to me that is a win.

Now onto writing…oh boy. I did participate in both Camp Nanowrimo’s and Nanowrimo, but I didn’t reach my goals in any of them. I had high hopes for 2021, but alas, it was almost as bad if not worse than 2020. I’m not even going to say anything about 2022 because I’m having a hard time finding hope for how it will go. I think a lot of us are going into the year with the mentality of no sudden movements.

So in all I think I did pretty good, especially with the year I had. Let’s see what 2022 has in store.

Happy reading!

Blitz | How to Cowboy by Jennie Marts

How to Cowboy
Jennie Marts
(Creedence Horse Rescue, #3)
Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication date: December 28th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

For fans of Carolyn Brown, Maisey Yates, and Jennifer Ryan, this steamy, emotional cowboy romance has all your favorites:

  • A hunky single dad showing his daughter the ropes
  • A heroine looking for a fresh start
  • Leaning on each other through hard times
  • Irresistible attraction
  • Rescue horses and ranch animals with lots of personality

How do you heal a broken heart?

After one injury too many, Cade Callahan gave up the rodeo for a simpler life working at his cousin’s horse rescue ranch. But his life turns upside down when his estranged daughter is placed in his custody after a tragic car accident. Wanting nothing to do with her father, thirteen-year-old Allie struggles to adjust to her new life.

Newly single and living out of her mother’s basement, physical therapist Nora Fisher doesn’t think twice about taking a job as a traveling therapist for Cade’s daughter. The trouble is, she doesn’t know anything about horses, or hunky cowboys. Now both in way over their heads, can Cade and Nora find a way to help Allie, and trust in the attraction building between them?

Praise for Jennie Marts:
“Full of hope, humor, and undeniable swoon.”—A.J. Pine, USA Today bestselling author
“Funny, complicated, and irresistible. Sometimes a cowboy isn’t perfect but you got to love him anyway.”—Jodi Thomas, New York Times bestselling author, for Caught Up in a Cowboy
“The perfect blend of humor, grit, and sexy cowboy spice. Delicious!”—Kari Lynn Dell, award-winning and bestselling author, for Wish Upon a Cowboy
“Deliciously steamy but still sweet, with a secret at its heart.”—Joanne Kennedy, award-winning and bestselling author, for Wish Upon a Cowboy

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

EXCERPT:

Cade flinched at the sound of her bedroom door slamming. He leaned his shoulder against the side of the house and let out a sigh. “I don’t get it. What did I say?”

Nora put a hand on his arm. “Nothing. She’s a teenager, so her moods are going to be all over the place.”

“But I thought things were going so well. She was even laughing at lunch.”

“Which might be part of the problem. Remember, she just lost her mom and has been uprooted to this new place. She might feel guilty for having fun or for enjoying this farm—like if she starts to like you and Bryn too much, that it will be a betrayal to her mom.”

“You might be right.” He offered her a smile. “What’s that advice gonna cost me?”

She grinned up at him. “One baked ziti dinner.”

“Done. I’ll even throw in a slice of pie.” He tried to laugh, but the anguish of the situation was getting to him, and he dropped his chin to his chest. “Ya know, I consider myself a pretty tough guy, but this parenting stuff is rough.”

Nora took a step toward him. “I have to warn you that I’m a hugger by nature, and it’s killing me not to be able to offer you a hug. Like I’m totally comin’ in hot right now, so if you don’t want to be smothered in a hug, you need to stop me now.”

The idea of wrapping his arms around Nora had emotions burning his throat. Which was weird since his feelings toward women weren’t generally led by his heart. But something about this woman, with her sunny attitude and her giving nature was getting to him. He opened his arms, and she stepped into them and wrapped herself around him.

He let out his breath as she sunk into him, and he bent his head and buried his face in her hair. “You feel good,” he whispered, then cleared his throat. “I mean this feels good.”

“So do you,” she murmured into his chest.

She pulled back, but he wasn’t ready to let her go and kept his arms circled around her waist. She looked up at from under long eyelashes, and he couldn’t tear his eyes away.

There was something here. He knew it, and he was sure she did too. The electricity between them was almost visible as if it shimmered in the air. They’d been teasing and flirting and touching the last few days, but this felt different. This was more than playful flirtation.

He dropped his gaze to her mouth and wanted to groan. Her lips were plump and parted, as if just begging to be kissed.

He leaned down and softly grazed her lips with his—not quite a kiss but enough to feel the soft catch of her breath and the delicious enticement of her mouth.

“What’s this going to cost me?” he whispered, but he already knew the answer.

It was going to cost him everything.

Author Bio:

Jennie Marts is the USA TODAY Best-selling author of award-winning books filled with love, laughter, and always a happily ever after. Readers call her books “laugh out loud” funny and the “perfect mix of romance, humor, and steam.” Fic Central claimed one of her books was “the most fun I’ve had reading in years.”

She is living her own happily ever after in the mountains of Colorado with her husband, two dogs, and a parakeet that loves to tweet to the oldies. She’s addicted to Diet Coke, adores Cheetos, and believes you can’t have too many books, shoes, or friends.

Her books include the contemporary western romance Hearts of Montana series, the romantic comedy/ cozy mysteries of The Page Turners series, the hunky hockey-playing men in the Bannister family in the Bannister Brothers Books, and the small-town romantic comedies in the Lovestruck series of Cotton Creek Romances.

Jennie loves to hear from readers. Follow her on Facebook at Jennie Marts Books, or Twitter at @JennieMarts. Visit her at http://www.jenniemarts.com and sign up for her newsletter to keep up with the latest news and releases.

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Review | The Mermaid Atlas: Merfolk of the World by Anna Claybourne

Magical and mysterious, the merfolk of the world are notoriously elusive, but this enchanting compendium will reveal their secrets. Learn all about the beautiful selkies of the Scottish seas, the wily iara of Brazil who love to outwit travelers, and the fearful Ningyo of Japan who can give you eternal life. This captivating book features a mix of mermaid “facts” and short retellings of some of the most magical and enticing traditional merfolk tales.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’m always looking for books like these, especially when they concern mythical beings or myths/legends. This book is a wonderful cross between a picture book and a reference book and it was so fun to read. It was divided into the different areas of the world and the specific mermaid myths that are included in those areas. In between each area there are also pages with general lore or information about mermaids in general. This was a pleasure to read and provided clear and concise information on the different myths and beings in the mermaid realm and the art was a delightful compliment to the lore.

Happy reading!

Blitz | Imperfect by Holly Carr

Imperfect
Holly Carr
Publication date: August 2nd 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense

She isn’t looking for love. He’s running from it.

A workplace crush is supposed to be light-hearted. Frivolous, even. Just some daydream inspiration to make the hours go faster, or to fill in twenty boring minutes.

Sam isn’t ready to develop actual feelings for someone. Not with Logan still looming so large in her heart, and especially not when the subject of her infatuation is her new employer.

Alex doesn’t plan to fall in love ever again. Not after what happened with Victoria.

But fate seems determined to begin an unwanted love story, and a tentative romance blossoms as Alex and Sam battle the malicious sabotage of a rival company.

That is, until Alex’s evil ex-wife re-enters his life, threatening to take custody of their daughter.

Sam’s determination to help the desperate man stand up for himself brings the two would-be lovers closer, but Victoria’s antics only highlight to Alex the dangers of leaving himself vulnerable.

Can Sam convince him to set aside eleven years of stanch celibacy and give into his feelings?

And just how did he get that mysterious scar on his face?

This contemporary romantic suspense novel is perfect for readers with a soft spot for a hesitant love story, a single dad, and a relatable heroine.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Smashwords

EXCERPT:

Sam stood just inside the door to Dimitri’s office, leaving it ajar so she could see though the gap. She peered down the hallway so she could warn Alex if their unauthorised presence were pending discovery. Unable to relax, she repeatedly lamented her decision to accompany him. All that stopped her from abandoning her post and returning to the party was her fear she’d be caught on the way, thus making it more likely Alex would also be busted.

She’d uselessly checked the clock on her phone twice already. It made no difference, as Alex hadn’t specified a time limit. He wasn’t going to suddenly give up just because their breaking and entering had totalled ten whole minutes. But it gave her something to do, and she sorely needed a distraction to take the edge off her panic.

She periodically turned to watch Alex, hoping he would either find something soon or give up. He was going through Dimitri’s desk, skimming papers, and meticulously putting them back in the same order. So far, nothing out of the ordinary had shown up.

She’d already voiced her opinion it was unlikely anything so important would be written down on paper, and Alex had admitted she was probably right. Short of hacking his desktop, this was almost certainly a futile exercise. He’d confided that he was holding out hope because Dimitri was somewhat ‘old school’. There was potentially an interesting hardcopy stashed somewhere.

Finishing with the drawers, Alex started on the single tray of documents on top of the desk. Dimitri’s workspace was unencumbered by the clutter littering Alex’s. Being well past retirement age, Sam suspected he didn’t have as much to do with the day to day running of his company as Alex did.

I wonder how much work it would take to make Alex’s desk look like that, she thought. Probably more than she’d care to contemplate. Even if she managed it, the lack of visible tasks would only serve to make him anxious anyway. He was too used to having three people’s work to do.

Her head whipped back to the door when she heard a bell ring in the distance. ‘Someone’s getting out of the lift,’ she whispered urgently.

Alex looked up, startled. He was only about halfway through the tray, and she saw his eyes dart back to the pile, eager to keep looking. He spoke distractedly, more engrossed in his task than their conversation. ‘I’ll just finish looking at this and we’ll …’ A sick pallor washed over his face as he looked up at Sam again, who was frozen in shock.

They had both realised their predicament at the same time. Her self-appointed position as ‘lookout’ was completely useless. The only way out was the lift or the stairs beside the lift. If someone was coming this way, they were going to be caught red-handed.

Sam couldn’t believe they had both been that stupid. Alex’s eagerness combined with her discomfort had blinded them to the obvious. They’d trapped themselves. Their only hope was that whoever it was didn’t plan on coming in this direction.

Watching the hall nervously, she saw shadows coming from around the distant corner, and her heart sank as she realised the voices were getting closer. There was no doubt about it, they were coming this way.

Swiftly closing the door, she confirmed this fact to Alex. He uselessly put the papers back into the tray. No one would ever know he’d been through them if they could just somehow not be caught.

Their mere presence made his intentions obvious though. Even without the physical evidence of disorder, what other reason could they have for being here?

Sam answered her own question as she watched Alex stride around the desk looking grim. He appeared to be mentally preparing himself to face the music, but maybe they didn’t have to.

It’s crazy, she thought. Too crazy, but I can’t think of anything else.

It was a risk on a lot of levels. They’d still be ‘busted’ in a way, and she was sure Alex wasn’t going to like it, but it was all she could come up with on short notice. ‘Take off your jacket and undo your tie,’ she whispered.

Alex’s look of bleak determination turned to confusion. The request certainly didn’t fit the situation, but she didn’t have time to ease him into it gently.

‘If we can’t get out before they come in, we need a different reason to be here. Take off your jacket, and undo your tie and some buttons,’ she whispered again, more urgently this time, beginning to untie her skirt.

Author Bio:

Holly Carr was born in Victoria, Australia, where she still lives today with her husband and a cat with no sense of personal space. She graduated from Deakin University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts (Public Relations), majoring in Literary Studies.

Holly first began writing creatively while she was at university, only setting aside her incomplete manuscript due to time constraints. It took ten years before she finally sat down to write again, and her first completed novel ‘IMPERFECT’ practically wrote itself. She enjoyed the experience so much she has already begun work on another.

When she takes a break from writing, she enjoys occasional visits from her grown-up son, pole dancing, eating far too much Mexican food, and pretending to know a lot about wine.

You can get the first two chapters of her forthcoming novel ‘UNLUCKY’ for free at her website http://www.hollycarr.com.au, or follow her on Facebook @hollycarrauthor and Instagram @holly_ylloh_holly.

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2022 Goals

Hey everyone! I decided to take a couple days off blogging so I could focus on spending the holiday with my family, and I’m glad I did. I wanted to come back and talk about the goals I have for next year. Most of these are pretty broad and definitely achievable, but as this year proved those are famous last words. Let’s go over them!

  • 200+ books read
  • Get caught up on Netgalley
  • Get caught up on my TBR Challenge books
  • More audiobooks! (since working from home I have been listening to less, but would like to ramp this up again).
  • Finish at least 2 manga series
  • Participate in the Buzzword Readathon (created by BooksandLaLa on youtube).

So far that’s what I have and I think I’m going to probably leave it here. I want them to be something I can actually achieve since I’m trying to be nice to myself.

What are some of your goals? Do you think I should add any other goals?

Happy reading!