A December Wrap-Up in March

Welcome back to my blog friends! You know, time is only what we make of it. At first I was going to combine all my winter reading into a winter wrap up, but I decided against that when the post got to be long. So here is December and I’ll combine January and February into the same wrap up. Last December was a wild month for me: I went to Los Angeles to BTS in concert, I went to Disney, I got covid, lots of things happened. Somehow in that same stretch of time I managed to complete five books.

Isn’t It Bromantic – Lyssa Kay Adams

Rating: 4 out of 5.

My romance reading track history is spotty. There are a lot of DNF’s I don’t mention because I don’t even get past the first chapter. I picked up Isn’t It Bromantic on a whim. The timing was right; the Greek billionaire/marriage in peril romance left me with a craving for similar tropes. The main characters are Russian, a hockey player for the NHL and his best friend turned wife of convenience (I don’t remember their names friends, sorry). Sometimes romance books feel like they happen in another universe where being true to yourself and talking about your feelings is all you need to survive and let me tell you, I ate it right up. This Russian hockey player is in a romance book club with a country music star, a baseball player, and other men who have public careers/reputations where you wouldn’t expect them to have this “feminine” hobby. Their marriage is failing due to serious miscommunication issues and her grief over her father’s death. His book club buddies help him reach out to his wife. He’s also writing a romance himself… I skipped those chapters. Long story short this book was super cute, melodramatic in a fun way, and a lighthearted read.

Ethereal Secrets, Ebon Rebellion, and Eternal Huntress – Whitney Hill

ethereal secrets

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
ebon rebellion

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
eternal huntress

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I binge read the final three books in the Shadows of Otherside series. In these final books Arden comes to terms with her growing power and responsibility, takes charge of the turbulent situations in The Triangle, and becomes a leader.The gods have chosen Arden to be a Huntress (leading in the apocalypse) and she must find a way to divert their attention, Troy has pledged himself to her, and the Otherside is facing a power vacuum. The way Hill deals with themes of power, ethics, and duty is so interesting and I love how Arden had to make difficult decisions. Especially when it came to forgiving those who hurt her. Hopefully in March, don’t hold me to this, I will have a series review up for these books. Ebon Rebellion is my favorite of the entire series because it had the best combination of drama and action.

Deal With the Devil – Kit Rocha

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Oh my gosh this book was so good. Sci-fi is not usually my thing; the tv shows always do it for me, but I haven’t been picking up and enjoying many sci-fi novels. Asha, The Rosegold Reader https://linktr.ee/rosegoldreader, was raving about this book and convinced me to pick it up. It has a near future/post-solar flare setting, lots of interesting technology, clones, super soldiers, found family, anti-capitalist themes, and an amazing romance. Every personality of the main seven characters sparkled, the dialogue was so funny, the world had a great amount of detail. All the tropes and cliches that gets me to love a story happened in short order. Nina and Knox, the leaders of the Mercenary Librarians and rogue super-soldiers respectively, have a growing connection while on a mission, except the soldiers plan on betraying the librarians. Deal With the Devil is a sci-fi romance, not a sci-fi with romance elements, so of course the betrayal doesn’t go as planned and the characters stay together in the end.

If you missed me I’ve been on instagram talking about books and twitter talking about everything else.

2021 Reading Wrap-Up

Hi friends and welcome back to my blog! I took an impromptu hiatus from blogging, but I’m stepping back into it with my 2021 wrap up.

2021 Reading Stats

All my stats are from StoryGraph because in 2020 I learned I am not a spreadsheet person. Other bloggers, and readers in general, use spreadsheets to track their reading but it’s too much work for me with not enough rewards. SG is easy enough to use and I just let it automatically give me my stats. And there is a new friends function so if you want to you can add me here.

Last year I read 76 books: mostly medium paced coming in at 45% of all my reading, my preferred length is between 300 and 499 pages, all fiction, and my most read genres are fantasy and romance. The authors I read the most in are Patricia Briggs, Seanan McGuire, and Whitney Hill. On average I rated books a 3.4. What makes a positive reading year for me is reading. Having what some might think is a “low” average rating does not bother me because a 3.0 signals an average book. Trying to expand my reading (and really I’m trying to keep up with the Jones’ but that is a different post) means I’m going to read a lot just fine books and a few books I hate, but any reading at all is a net positive for me.

Onto the specifics!

Most Entertaining

Let’s get the most obvious answer out of the way: The Mercy Thompson series. I returned to my roots and the genre that turned me from some kid who read a lot to someone whose favorite form of media is books: urban fantasy/paranormal romance. The Mercy Thompson series has supernatural shenanigans, a delicious slow burn romance with reverse harem elements, emphasis on friendship and found family, and a surprising amount of nuance in how mental health is treated thematically. Mercy and her wolves changed my reading year.  

My other favorite UF read of the year is Shadow Blade by Seressia Glass. It has Egyptian gods, motorcycles, a badass heroine with a tortured past, and one of the best romance plotlines I read this year. A dagger to throat scene and a sparring scene … this book was written for me and for me alone. But you should read it too and then DM me on your social platform of choice.

If urban sci-fi is a thing Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha fits the bill. In a post climate crisis America, a team of mercenary librarians meet up with AWOL super soldiers to band together against an evil corporation. I loved the sense of humor, excellent pacing, and the romance. I never considered that sci-fi erotica existed, and I read this book on a plane hoping my seatmates wouldn’t read over my shoulder. Fun times. The same thing I love about UF/PR are present in this book. The sci-fi elements are important parts of the world building, but they’re common enough that the author doesn’t have to explain everything and lets the plot and characters take over. In traditional sci-fi the various explanations tend to bore me, plus I’m a nerd who went to a tech school and I get caught up mentally arguing about what’s possible.

A shout-out to my honorable mentions: The Shadows of Otherside and The October Daye series.

Most Impactful

By most impactful I mean this book stayed with me. I couldn’t stop thinking about, revisiting, or comparing my next reads to it and just reflected about myself when I was done reading it. Morgan Rogers’ debut Honey Girl read like a mirror. Grace is a struggling millennial dealing with the reality of not achieving her dreams, living up to her father’s standards, and being broke. I saw so much of myself in Grace that it was uncomfortable at times, but it was such a necessary feeling. Honey Girl is a particular book, the prose is pretty damn purple, and Grace is a flawed main character. However, Rogers put so much care into the narrative that when Grace was being terrible or when they weren’t being considerate of her feelings the love was never lost and everyone’s actions made sense.

The Romances

My favorite romances of the year are: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, Anne of Manhattan by Brina Starler, and Say Yes to The Marquess by Tessa Dare. While it wasn’t an actual goal of mine, I found out that my favorite romance sub-genre is the rom-com. Other types of romance books can be amazingly written, with strong internal character arcs and dreamy love interests, but if I don’t laugh at least once during that book it won’t end up a favorite. The Kiss Quotient has personality in spades, great sexual tension and sexy scenes, and the best love interest I read last year. Anne of Manhattan surprised me. It is Anne of Green Gables fanfiction and despite never having seen Anne or her Green Gables, I loved that book. Nothing in me was prepared to love that book or the characters the way I did. I reared myself on fanfiction so I’m a sucker for when something can hit all those same buttons and tropes the way I like it. Say Yes to The Marquess opened my eyes to the possibility of a historical rom-com and for that I thank Tessa Dare. This also had a lot of heart and meaningful discussions about child abuse and toxic families without ruining the lighthearted atmosphere.

That’s all from me folks! What was your favorite book from last year? Do we share any favorites or did you hate some of my choices?

Goals For The New Year

Hello and Happy New Year everyone!

I’m looking back at my reading and what I did for my blog last year and I feel a little unsatisfied. This isn’t the most positive way to start off my post and my year with the blog, but it’s honest. I wanted to post more reviews and discussions, read more sci-fi, and read more books I own. Some of my “failure” to meet these goals is because I shifted focus from my blog to my bookstagram account (which is so close to 500 followers as of Jan 4th, 2022). I did meet some of my goals: I read from more indie authors, joined a couple book club discussions and joined a book club, and I grew my Instagram account. I started writing for the Sistah Girls Book Club @ shareehereford.com/blog/ and I really am proud of myself for going after this opportunity. For this year I’m going to keep in mind my shifting responsibilities and be more flexible this year.

My Reading Goals

  • In 2019 I read 10 books, 2020 I read 70, and in 2021 I read 76. I want to stop thinking about the number of books I’m reading and focus on being relaxed/enjoying myself
  • Reread 5 books
  • Read 10 books I already own
  • Stop trying to read sci-fi, young adult fantasy, and young adult contemporary
  • Read less traditional romance and shift to self-pubbed & Harlequin romance

My Blogging/Social Media Goals

  • Post at least one positive review a month (4-5 star rating)
  • Do more discussion posts
  • Get better at doing batch content and queuing posts
  • Try to write guest-posts
  • Change up my blog banners
  • Create more engaging content (track through interactions)

That’s all from me folks, what are your goals for the year if you’re into that kind of thing?

2022 Anticipated Sci-fi & Fantasy Releases

Hello friends! Part two of my 2022 anticipated reads is here. All year I’ve been ranting and raving about my paranormal romance and urban fantasy reads. Many of my tbr’s went unfinished because I couldn’t focus on longer books with intense world building anymore. I miss reading high fantasy and I want to stop neglecting sci-fi. So, I’m using this list in an aspirational way instead of calling it a true tbr or making it a goal to read all of these books next year.

Here are just three of the sequels I want to read next year. Yes, I have not finished The Jasmine Throne or Legendborn. That doesn’t mean I can’t be excited for the sequels.

Let me know what SFF books you’re looking forward to and if we have the same books on your list ❤

Top 5 Covers of 2021

Hi friends! I wanted to add more life to my blog so here is a prompt post: my favorite covers of the year. I stuck with books I’ve actually read but shout out to Darling by K. Ancrum. My preferences lean towards cartoon covers and bright/bold colors, sorry to those who like real people on covers.

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly blog prompt created by Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm and hosted by Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads.

Honey Girl has my favorite cover of the year. I have the Book of The Month copy of this and I’m glad it’s hardback because it will be harder for me to accidentally tear or crease it. Grace looks so sad and beautiful.

My most surprising read of the year and one of the prettiest covers. She’s from Green Gables and the cover is green … get it? Not much to say about this one. I like the silhouettes and the New York skyline.

This comic was really cool and each cover impressed me. I chose the first as the best because it was my first impression of the comic and really grabbed my attention.

There is so much to love about this cover. I love the whites and greens, the nature going through Sankofa’s head, her earrings, and the melancholy look on her face. All of the emotion in Remote Control is represented on this cover.

Enough time has passed so I think it’s safe for me to admit this was a cover read. All the geometric shapes, fun colors, and mysterious energy/magic on the cover drew me in. It’s very urban fantasy: we have a woman with her back to the camera wearing leather and looking vaguely powerful. Amazing cover, boring book.

Maybe I just like earrings on book covers. What’s your favorite cover of the year?