Category: Weekly Wrap-Up

May 26

2020 Weekly Wrap-Up: The Twenty-First

Weekly Wrap-Up 4

Hiya Bookworms,

This is the twenty first weekly update I’ve written this year so far. And, fun fact- my baby cousin turned 21 last week. I know that doesn’t seem super interesting, except that my whole life all my cousins on both sides of the family were relatively close age-wise. I was a teenager and living under the assumption that all the cousins I would ever have were already in existence when this particular kiddo arrived on the scene. And, while 16 seems impossibly young now, at the time, I felt mostly adult. So the idea that a human being born when I was practically grown is now old enough to drink? Well. I feel like my bones shall flake away into dust any second now. But it’s FINE, OKAY? It’s not like that baby cousin’s even babier sibling just graduated high school or anything. Oh wait. Damn. Please excuse me while I mourn my lost youth…

You still here? Good good. Glad to have gotten that existential crisis out of the way early today. I have been READING, y’all. Let’s talk about these books!

In for a Penny by Rose Lerner- A young rogue of a gentleman, Lord Nevinstoke spends most of his time partying. This is a regency novel, so “partying” isn’t the appropriate verbiage for the time, but my brain is fried. After the unexpected death of his father, Nev finds himself in charge of a bankrupt estate with few options. In a quest to right his balance sheet, Nev proposes marriage to a wealthy heiress. He’s completely upfront about his motives, but also thinks that they may have a bit of a spark. Penny accepts, despite her better judgement, because she appreciates Nev’s honesty and is drawn to him in spite of herself. Plus, being of “common” birth, this marriage allows Penny to opportunity to finally be accepted as a part of the upper crust. But, as we all know, marriages of convenience in romance often turn into marriages of heart-eye-emojis with a side of steam. This book was such a wonderful surprise! I had read one of Rose Lerner’s novellas a while back (All or Nothing, if you’re interested, I don’t believe I ever reviewed it), so I really thought I knew what to expect. But, reader, a novella is not necessarily indicative of what an author’s full length work will hold. I thought In for a Penny was beautifully crafted. The characters were flawed and showed real growth. The narrative was compelling beyond the surface love story. I wasn’t simply waiting for the characters to hook up, there were so many other things going on that I cared about. If you like regency romances at all, you really really need to give this book a read. It’s absolutely wonderful.

Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith- Divya Sharma is a Stream Queen- that is, she streams her video game play online and has an impressive following. Her following is so impressive that she receives sponsorships that help her support Divya and her mother. She’s often plagued by trolls, unfortunately, because there are a lot of garbage white dudes floating around on the internet who don’t think brown girls should be taking up space in what they think is their domain. But Divya carries on, because she doesn’t want to let them win… And she needs to help her mother finish grad school. Aaron Jericho is also an avid gamer, but streaming isn’t his bread and butter. He’s a writer with aspirations to craft brilliant stories to accompany new games. Then one day, he randomly runs into the famous D1V while gaming and the two strike up a friendship. But, you know, the trolls are still there and they both have their own specific life problems and they live in different cities so it’s not all smooth sailing. Still. It’s a lovely ride. Now, I don’t play video games. I haven’t since the original Nintendo we had when I was a kid. My hand eye coordination is garbage and I was never particularly good at it. Once things progressed past very simple two dimensional movement, my spatial awareness completely spaced out. Trying to play Goldeneye on N64 (which is a 20 year old game, yes, I’m THAT out of touch) usually finds me aimlessly circling because I just CANNOT with the depth perception. All of that is to say, I don’t know jack about online gaming, but I happen to know quite a bit about online friendships and how awesome they can be. If you like YA novels and appreciate the power of online friendships? Definitely give Don’t Read the Comments a read!

Once Upon a Winters Eve by Tessa Dare- This novella was the last remaining Spindle Cove installment I hadn’t read. Violet Winterbottom is a polyglot- her gift for languages allows her to speak 6 of them fluently, not that it does her much good in the limited sphere of gently born women. She is expected to marry well, though she only has eyes for the one that got away. That is, until a mysterious stranger literally crashes (like with broken glass and everything) the Spindle Cove Christmas Ball. Turns out the “one that got away” was more of a “if I told you where I went, I’d have to kill you” kind of situation. What? Aren’t all the best love interests spies in the Napoleonic wars? This novella was cute, but not my favorite of the series by any stretch. It’s always good to read a Tessa Dare, though. Minimal angst, maximal joy.

An excellent reading week, all in all. Right now I’m reading I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez with my eyes. So far, it’s excellent. I’m also listening to Tweet Cute by Emma Lord- it’s too early to even give a preliminary commentary on this one, but I have high hopes.

What have you been reading, Bookworms?

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Links in the post above direct to Amazon, but if you’re interested and in a position to do so, please consider making a purchase from a local independent book store. IndieBound and Bookshop make it easy to do just that without having to leave your home! 

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May 19

2020 Weekly Wrap-Up: The Twentieth

Weekly Wrap-Up 3

Hoo Boy, Bookworms,

TWENTY weeks into TWENTY TWENTY and I’m SO ready for a re-do. Dumb year. But I’m blogging again, so I guess that’s not the worst thing? Whatever. We’re still doing our best hanging out at home, attempting to work full time and keep a toddler from self destructing. It’s hard, but what isn’t right now? I finally finished The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali, because enough napping happened for me to listen to the audio book. It’s the only book I wrapped up this week, so let’s talk about it.

The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali was a good book, but definitely not the sort of lighthearted romance I’ve been gravitating toward lately. Set against the backdrop of 1953 Tehran, it tells the love story of a young idealistic couple. “Happily Ever After” doesn’t come to fruition for them, and with the chaos of a military coup rocking the country, the two part ways, both heartbroken. They reunite 60 years later in the US and discover the answers to their lingering questions about what exactly came between them. This was a beautifully written book, and a compelling story, but it was a real downer. Reading about the political unrest in 1950s Iran was fascinating, but given all the political unrest we’re currently living through, the descriptions only served to freak me out. This is a very, very good book, BUT. If you need something happy and escapist to deal with the here and now? Maybe wait a while to read this.

I’m currently reading In for a Penny by Rose Lerner, which is, thus far, a fantastic romance novel. I’ve also got Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith in my headphones (literally, I’ve got the ear buds in right now) which is also proving to be wonderful. But ugh, I really hope these trolls get what’s coming to them because I cannot even with them right now. I’ve hit the angsty bit hard and I’m VERY INVESTED. I wonder if that douchey developer guy is involved… BUT I DIGRESS.

Sammers and Chaos: The Socially Distant Hangout

I’d like to end this blog on a pleasant note, because so much sucks. Since we’ve been staying at home, my son has struck up a friendship with our neighbor’s cat. You will likely have seen lots of these pictures and videos if you follow me on social media, but Sammy’s current BFF is a cat named Chaos. My neighbor is super cool, and is one of the few people I’ve met outside of the bookternet who reads as much (if not more) than I do. She’d initially wanted to name her cat Mr. Darcy but he proved to be too feral to pull off the dignified moniker. She finally gave up and named him Chaos. He and Sammers have the same energy, apparently, and recognize their kindred spirits. Every time we go outside to play or go for a walk, Sam will stop by the neighbor’s front window to visit the cat… And if the cat isn’t already in the window, Sam will shout a bit until the cat shows up (I have sent SO MANY text apologies, but, as I mentioned, my neighbor is awesome and finds the whole thing hilarious.) Chaos pretty much hates everyone except my neighbor, so it’s rather remarkable that he makes himself available for these little play dates. This toddler/cat bromance is my favorite quarantine development to date. Anything good happening with you these days, Bookworms?

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Links in the post above direct to Amazon, but if you’re interested and in a position to do so, please consider making a purchase from a local independent book store. IndieBound and Bookshop make it easy to do just that without having to leave your home! 

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May 06

Weekly Wrap-Up 2020: The Eighteenth

Audio Books, Brain Dump, Romance, Weekly Wrap-Up 1

Holy Heck, Bookworms,

This Quarantine business is a roller coaster ride. We’ll have several nice and uneventful days in parenting and working-from-home land, and then BAM. No sleep for half the night, and the kid skips his nap, oof. This post is definitely not going to be going live “on schedule” (as though I’m rigorous about keeping a schedule, LOL.) Anyway. Yeah. This is really hard. And I miss daycare and my quiet office. I have no idea when anything even approaching “normal” will be occurring, and that’s probably the worst part. Or maybe not. I can think of many instances in which I’d simply rather not know that something awful was about to befall me. Wow. Tired Katie is getting philosophical.

Another blow from last week? My BFF’s wedding had to be postponed. I mean, we all knew it was coming, but it still really sucks. This virus is horrible on so many levels. There are the obvious super bad ones like, you know, the painful and tragic deaths of thousands upon thousands of people, then there’s whatever is left of the economy (which I don’t want to think about), then the endless cancellations of events and things that make life good. My youngest cousin is a senior in high school. She got no prom, no graduation, no closure. I was a bitter mess in high school and I’d even have been upset by everything being unceremoniously cancelled. This is all so awful. I AM FILLED TO THE BRIM WITH TOO MUCH AWFUL. Which is why I’m going to carry on reading romance novels. It’s the healthiest coping mechanism I have at my disposal. So now, let me tell you about what I read last week. *Please note that I wrote this intro when I was super sleep deprived. All of these things are still true, but I had an excellent night of sleep and things don’t seem QUITE as gloomy now. No need to worry about me. Onto the books!*

Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai: This book was an absolute delight! I wasn’t surprised, given that it was the followup to The Right Swipe, of course. I was, however, surprised that I managed to get through an audio book so quickly. Sam had several days of good naps last week (like I said, it goes in waves) and I was super into the story. Katrina King is a former model living an intensely private life out of the spotlight. She suffers from a panic disorder and has a history of trauma. She’s also very wealthy so she has the means AND good reasons to keep a security detail. Just as she’s gotten comfortable enough to occasionally venture out in public, some random bystander takes it upon themselves to detail what they perceive to be a “meet cute” between Katrina and a stranger who chats her up in a cafe. Once the eavesdropper’s tweets go viral, Katrina is flabbergasted that her uneventful turning down of a dude who asked her out has put her safe haven in jeopardy. Oh, and she’s secretly in love with her bodyguard, Jas Singh, who is OBVIOUSLY also secretly in love with her, and let me tell you- the real love story doesn’t play out on the internet. This book was wonderful, but it also made me feel low-key creepy about ever having found amusement in one of those bystander Twitter stories. People’s breakups or hookups or whatever shouldn’t be broadcast all over the internet. It’s a a weird invasion of privacy even if you don’t have a panic disorder/are a former celebrity/are extremely wealthy.

The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan: When it comes to historical romance, I cannot express enough just how much I love story lines that are completely bonkers. Faked deaths, secret titles, imaginary correspondence about puppy cannons? Yes, please! Edward Clark has been living in France for years and has absolutely no intention of returning to England to reclaim his title. In fact, he’s relieved that the time limit for him to be declared legally dead has nearly elapsed so that his brother can take over and he can wash his hands of the whole debacle. That is, of course, until he discovers that his awful brother is plotting nefarious deeds. Frederica “Free” Marshall is an outspoken Suffragette who operates a feminist newspaper, and just happens to be the intended target of Awful Aristocrat’s aforementioned nefarious deeds. Edward offers her his assistance under the guise of being a scoundrel, only to accidentally fall in love. As one does. Fans of brooding strangers and fiery protagonists take note!

So, what am I reading right now? Well, my MIL recommended The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali, so I’ve got that going as an audio book. I also decided to finish off the Brothers Sinister series once and for all, so I’m eyeball reading the final novella, Talk Sweetly to Me by Courtney Milan. What have you been reading, Bookworms? And how are you all holding up?

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Links in the post above direct to Amazon, but if you’re interested and in a position to do so, please consider making a purchase from a local independent book store. IndieBound and Bookshop make it easy to do just that without having to leave your home! 

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Apr 21

2020 Weekly Wrap-Up: The Sixteenth

Romance, Weekly Wrap-Up 7

Greetings, Bookworms!

It’s been a good week for me and romance novels, I tell you what. I finished TWO WHOLE BOOKS and am rapidly closing in on a third. All of them romances, because that is all I currently want to read. But, to mix it up, they’re all contemporary romances, not historicals. It’s a genre with endless variety, why not change things up? So, where should we start?

I finished reading The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams. Pro baseball player Gavin Scott’s marriage is falling apart when he’s unexpectedly drafted into a book club, of sorts. The movers and shakers of Nashville pro sports have banded together and started reading romance novels in an effort to better understand how they’re screwing up their relationships. The concept is delightful- I mean, romance novels are written primarily by women, for women. Guys in heterosexual relationships (and, honestly, probably homosexual relationships too) could learn a lot from romance novels. Heck, women can learn a lot from romance novels. They’re WAY more fun to read than self-help books, at least from where I’m sitting, and a lot of them provide excellent relationship guidance. Then again, some are complete trash and glorify unhealthy and abusive relationships. Look, let’s not dive too deeply into that rabbit hole, okay? Anyway. Gavin joins this book club and sets out to win his wife back. But it’s not just romantic grand gestures- they both have to do some emotional heavy lifting to figure out where things went wrong and how to fix them.

Remember that Talia Hibbert book I told you about last week? A Girl Like Her? It was the start of a series! And yes, I’m going to binge read the whole thing because I love Talia Hibbert so very much. I devoured the followup novel, Damaged Goods. It follows the wife of that one terrible dude from the first book. And you know what? Once she breaks away from the terrible dude, good things happen. Because that’s how life works. Cut out the abusive scum bags, everyone! I know, it’s not that easy. There’s so much gas lighting that goes into an abusive relationship that it can be difficult to figure out you’re in one, let alone figuring out how to break free. But it makes me super happy when I see fictional characters doing just that. BYE HORRIBLE ABUSIVE SCUMBAG. HELLO, HOTTIE McHOTSTUFF WHO COOKS IN BEACH TOWN. Sigh. I do so love a happily ever after. Speaking of escaping abusive scumbags in search of happily ever after, Sammy has decided that Tangled is among his favorite films. It’s pretty cute that he asks for “Tangled and Gene” all the time, but if you’re wondering if you’re in an abusive relationship? Check out how Mother Gothel treats Rapunzel. YIKES. (I do love the movie, though. It’s one of the best Disney Princess movies. Rapunzel is a joy and Flynn Rider AKA Eugene Fitzherbert is one rakish love interest.)

As for what I’m currently reading, no surprise on the eyeball reads: I’m reading Untouchable by the wonderful Talia Hibbert. So freaking charming. And in my ears? Well, I’m still working on Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore. I’m enjoying the book, digging the whole The Time Traveler’s Wife vibe, but I haven’t gotten a lot in the way of cooperative naps lately. I’m about halfway through it, so I’ll get there eventually. What have you been reading, Bookworms?

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. The links in the text above direct to Amazon, but if you’re interested and able, please consider making a purchase through a local, independent book store by using the links below:

Oona Out of Order
The Bromance Book Club
Damaged Goods
Untouchable
The Time Traveler’s Wife

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Apr 07

2020 Weekly Wrap-Up: The Fourteenth

Contemporary Fiction, Weekly Wrap-Up 4

How you holding up, Bookworms?

As we head into our fourth week of working from home, I’ve noticed some things. First, Sam has averaged one day per week where he does not take a nap. Second, I have averaged one day per week where I have a crying jag simply because it’s all too much. Often these are the same day, though sometimes not. I’m tired and I’m frightened and I’m angry. But none of that is new. I’m still finding solace in reading, and this week, I FINALLY finished Miracle Creek by Angie Kim. My slow-poke-iness wasn’t necessarily the fault of the narrative, simply that I find myself with much less time for audio books than I used to have (because commute, quiet office, etc.) Anyway.

In a small town in Virginia, a Korean immigrant family open a hyperbaric oxygen tank treatment center. They attract an assortment of clients, from those seeking treatment for autistic children, cerebral palsy, and even infertility. Then, one night, the chamber explodes, killing two people and severely injuring several more. As the dust settles, it becomes clear that the explosion wasn’t an accident. A courtroom driven mystery unfolds as the reader slowly discovers that nearly all the characters are harboring troubling secrets.

This book was… A lot. It was emotionally complex and I’m still processing my feelings. On one hand, I related to the mothers of the special needs kids seeking treatment. Sammers is not special needs, but being a parent is can be emotionally and physically draining under the best of circumstances. The worries and added pressures with finding appropriate treatments, and knowing when to step back has got to be super rough. Not to mention, depending on the level of disability, much of everyday life would be that much harder.

On the other hand, particularly right now, I’m disgusted at the way society treats the disabled. I’ve seen so many Twitter threads by disabled people having to explain that they’re not disposable. Because, really, before COVID-19 really got rolling, the general impression was that it was only going to hit older people and those with complicated health situations. So many people dismissed the virus as not that big a deal because it wouldn’t affect them, just the broken people, and who cares about protecting them? It was REAL gross. Not a good look, humanity. Reading this book while watching all of this unfold made me feel kind of gross for identifying with the mothers at all.

Like I said- COMPLEX EMOTIONS. If you enjoy that sort of thing, definitely read Miracle Creek. If you need to give your brain a break from the actual horror we’re living through, put this one on the shelf with the pandemic books. We can all revisit it in 10 years when this is less raw and horrifying.

As for what I’m reading this week, I’m still enjoying Roshani Chokshi’s A Crown of Wishes. Pure fantasy is such a delicious escape from the here and now. No matter how awful things here get, I’m not being threatened by poisonous mystical beings, so I’ve got that going for me. I keep eyeing the new Christina Lauren book The Honey-Don’t List on Scribd’s audio offerings, but I don’t know when I’m going to be able to start another audio book. A certain small boy is currently fighting his nap in a big way, and no nap means no audio book time. Siiiigh. I even emailed his daycare teacher for help- apparently he takes naps completely unassisted when he’s at school. BECAUSE OF COURSE.

So, Bookworms. What are you reading this week? And does anyone have any magical tips for getting a stubborn 2.5 year old to take the naps they desperately need?

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. The links in the above text direct to Amazon, but if you are able, please consider making a purchase through a local, independent book store by using the links below. And don’t forget to check out your local library’s digital offerings!

Miracle Creek
A Crown of Wishes
The Honey-Don’t List 

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Apr 01

2020 Weekly Wrap-Up: The Thirteenth

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts, Weekly Wrap-Up 6

Howdy Bookworms,

The thirteenth weekly wrap up sounds a bit ominous doesn’t it? Want to know what’s scarier than living through a plague? Having a friggin TORNADO touch down less than a block from your house during a global pandemic. YEAH. Thank heaven it ended up being a weak (EF0-EF1) tornado. We lost some beautiful old trees on the neighboring golf course, but nobody’s home suffered major damage. One house had half a tree on its roof, but the roof wasn’t leaking, at least, so damage? Yes. Major? Well, certainly not catastrophic. We didn’t even realize how close a call we’d had until the next day, it was just one of those “oh heck, better hustle to the basement” moments. Sam was extremely excited to watch the weather maps and to get his bedtime extended. Suffice it to say my nerves are FRAYED. Calm the heck DOWN, Mother Nature, we GET IT.

This is the tornado’s path according to our local news. I added an arrow to point to our approximate location. NOT COOL.

Let’s get past the terror of what could have been for a moment, shall we? I FINISHED A BOOK!!! Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey was so good! Like, once I really got into it, I couldn’t put it down. I stayed up past my bedtime to finish it AND forgot for a few minutes after emerging what was actually going on in the real world. It was everything I needed from a book. A non-magical private investigator is tasked with solving a murder at a magical school. The book immediately starts with a Harry Potter reference, so it’s delightfully self aware and just a little bit cheeky. Ivy Gamble has been largely estranged from her twin sister for years- a rift coinciding with the beginning of Tabitha’s magical education and compounded by their mother’s death. It’s a feelings minefield between these two! It’s also an exceptionally good murder mystery, which, admittedly, is not usually my jam. Very twisty, very smart, very magical. I highly recommend it!

So, what am I reading now? I’m still working my way through my audio book of Miracle Creek by Angie Kim and, naps willing, should finish it up soon. I also started A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi- it’s the second in the The Star-Touched Queen series. Admittedly, it’s been quite a long time since I read The Star-Touched Queen, so I was worried I’d be a little lost, but it’s all coming back quite nicely. Roshani Chokshi writes the most delightful demons.

How are things going for you, Bookworms? Stay safe and healthy- the world needs you.

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. The links in the above text direct to Amazon, but if you prefer to shop through a local, independent bookstore, please consider using the links below. And, as always, be sure to look into the digital offerings from your public library. 
Magic for Liars
Miracle Creek
The Star-Touched Queen
A Crown of Wishes

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Mar 25

2020 Weekly Wrap-Up: The Twelfth (With Bonus Kid Lit)

Kidlit with my Kidlet, Personal, Weekly Wrap-Up 4

Hey Bookworms,

Life comes at you fast, huh? Two weeks ago coronavirus was scary, but not panic inducing. Today it’s changed just about everything. I used to LOVE reading fictional accounts of plagues and pandemics. Now? Not so much. Two weeks ago I started writing a listicle of some of the great plague books I’d read over the years, but I just don’t have it in me to finish that right now (I assume most of you aren’t interested in plague books right now either, but if I’m wrong on that, I’ll finish up that post because I wouldn’t want you to run out of reading material, even if your tastes are macabre in the current moment.) In case you were wondering, I finished ZERO books this week. I can only listen to audio books in fits and starts, and by the time I get to bed (which is where I normally do the bulk of my reading) I’m so mentally exhausted by the news and our new reality that I make it a chapter or so before I’m out. Sammy’s sleep has been crappy as well, which I assume is due in part to the fact that he can feel our anxiety, even if he doesn’t totally understand what’s going on. He’s been extra clingy and working from home with a toddler is really, really hard. I don’t want to be all gloom and doom, but I don’t necessarily want to put a shiny, happy face on all of this because it sucks. For so many reasons. On so many levels. And I’m really angry. For so many reasons. On so many levels. And yet, literally, the only thing I can do to help anyone is stay home. I can’t even sew so I can’t occupy myself by making masks or anything (but honestly, is anyone else getting SERIOUS wartime vibes? I can’t even count the number of WWII books I’ve read that discuss the women on the home front knitting socks for soldiers. Now we’re making masks for soldiers- because let’s face it- our healthcare workers have become war heroes.)

For my own mental health, I cannot wallow for long. I’ve got stuff to do. I still have a job! One that I can do from home! SAKES ALIVE do I ever miss my childcare, but I’m still going to be able to pay my bills… I just won’t look at my 401K for the foreseeable future. As far as stuff I’m grateful for, I’m glad I live in Illinois right now. I know, it’s a pain in the butt to have a stay-at-home order, but I know it’s saving lives, and I wish the rest of the country would get on board so this won’t drag on as long. I’m finding it extremely comforting to have a competent local government- who would have thought we had it in us? Also, since you can’t actually isolate yourself from a tiny human that you have to take care of (and I wouldn’t want to) I am reveling in all the extra hugs and snuggles. Those little hits of dopamine are doing my anxious brain a world of good. And, since I didn’t finish a grown-up book this week, I thought it might be a good time to look at some of the books on Sammy’s heavy rotation list right now.


Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri: We have such an extensive library that books we haven’t read in a while often feel like brand new. It had been a while since I pulled these off the shelves, but I’m glad I did. Sam demands that we read “the taco book” over and over and over. If you ever want to make friends with a dragon, remember that tacos are key. And ALWAYS READ THE FINE PRINT on your salsa, because spicy things are a no-go for dragons. Unless you want your house incinerated. (We’ve learned from some of our other books that spicy foods also give penguins hiccups, so if you’re feeding foods to animals and/or mythical creatures, go easy on the spices.)

Dragons Love Tacos 2: The Sequel by Adam Rubin, Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri: For those of us who have dabbled in time travel fiction, this book is even funnier than the first. Also, tacos grow on trees. I wish tacos did grow on trees, particularly because we are currently running low on tortillas so we’re going to have to wait until we really need groceries to procure more. And, IDK what the tortilla situation is- bread products are scarce, but are tortillas? I digress. I put these books on my baby shower registry because I was constantly craving tacos during my pregnancy, and a very wise friend of mine with her own children purchased them for me.


Diggersaurs by Michael Whaite: This book combines two of Sammy’s favorite things: dinosaurs and construction equipment. It’s got a nice rhyme scheme and charming illustrations. We have read this book ELEVENTY BILLION TIMES. It’s actually starting to show some serious wear- anybody have advice on repairing children’s paper backs whose pages are coming loose?

Boom Chicka Rock by John Archambault Illustrated by Suzanne Tanner Chitwood: After having several conversations with my MIL about Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and both of us being confused, she realized that the book she thought I’d been talking about wasn’t at all the same book she’d been discussing. Apparently Boom Chicka Rock was a favorite of my husband as a kiddo, so she bought a copy for Sammers. It’s very cute and revolves around a team of sneaky mice trying to abscond with a birthday cake under the nose of the house’s cat. Sam thinks this book is hilarious and fun because it’s chock full of word play. There are a couple of instances within the book that I find a little awkward to try to get the rhythm right, but all in all, it’s a really fun read.


101 Trucks: And Other Mighty Things That Go by April Jones Prince, Illustrated by Bob Kolor: Have you figured out that my kid is a fan of trucks? And construction equipment? This book is a delight for him. Right now, he’s particularly fixated on the page that showcases all the different types of “movers,” buses in particular. Everything is a bus. The Duck Boat is a Duck Boat Bus. The Trolley is a Trolley Bus. The Articulating Bus, impressively, is an Articulating Bus. Big words are also Sam’s jam.

As for what I’m reading, I try to listen to Miracle Creek during Sam’s nap time (when he deigns to nap, oof), and I’m really starting to get into the groove of Magic for Liars– I anticipate to have finished at least one of them by next week’s update.

I’d like to give a shout out to all the folks driving trucks, delivering things, providing takeout orders, stocking grocery shelves, and keeping things running enough so the rest of us can hunker down. And, obviously, healthcare workers. I’ve seen meme after meme about nurses and doctors not wanting to be hailed as heroes and that they just want everyone to stay the heck home, but I don’t see why I can’t do both. Hang in there, friends.

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. The links in the post above direct to Amazon, but if you’re able, please consider purchasing books for delivery from your local independent book store by clicking the links below:

Dragons Love Tacos
Dragons Love Tacos 2
Diggersaurs
Boom Chicka Rock
101 Trucks
Miracle Creek
Magic for Liars

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Mar 18

2020 Weekly Wrap-Up: The Eleventh

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts, Brain Dump, Weekly Wrap-Up 3

Hi Bookworms,

Holy. Crap. This week has seemed ONE THOUSAND YEARS LONG. In the span of seven days, the Coronavirus has thrown life in the US (and around much of the world) into absolute chaos. My company did the responsible thing and mandated that we work from home at least for the next 2 weeks, which is convenient because the state of Illinois has since shut down all schools. Technically daycares haven’t been officially shut down, but ours made the right call and closed up shop along with the schools. My husband works in healthcare IT, so we don’t entirely know what his working situation is going to look like. I mean, if there were ever a time for healthcare’s tech to be top notch, it’s RIGHT NOW. I’m sure we’ll know more as the week progresses.

I know we’re outrageously lucky. Jim and I both have jobs that we’re still able to do (well, mostly. TODDLER.) We have paid leave if we were to get sick. We have health insurance. We might go a little stir crazy, but we’re going to be OK. When the enormity of the situation gets to be too much, I focus on that, and the little things that make this less frightening. Like, our community has several resources in place offering lunches to kids who rely on school to provide food. Some of our utilities have announced that they’re ceasing shutting off customers for non-payment. Our small community grocery store is having special morning hours (after the store has been disinfected over night) specifically for those 65+ customers to shop. They’re carding at the door to give the most vulnerable the opportunity to shop in the safest possible environment. Bet you never thought there’d be a bouncer at the grocery store keeping the whipper-snappers out, but hey, life is weird. I mean, I now have a constant companion whose favorite phrase is “Oh my gosh, look at her butt!” (thanks, SING) so I can’t be down for too terribly long.

Now because I lack a commute and have no quiet office space or solo lunch breaks (because toddler) my audio book listening will be extremely limited. Hence, I probably won’t have as many books to talk about. That’s good for the books I DO finish, though- they’ll get extra special attention. So why don’t we get started?

I finished The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty on audio last week when I still had a commute, a quiet office, and a lunch break that didn’t involve bribing a child to eat something other than gold fish crackers. I usually really enjoy Liane Moriarty’s work, but my head wasn’t in it this time. I probably would have found myself enjoying this book more were I not having to pause all the time to get more COVID-19 news. Still, the moral dilemmas and mysteries that have made Moriarty a household name are well represented in The Husband’s SecretOne of the things that made this book unique from some of her others was that it did a little light exploration of what would have become of certain characters were it not for the sequence of events that actually unfolded. In that way, it reminded me a little of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Maybe in Another Life (though this phenomenon was the entire POINT of Reid’s book (review), whilst it was just a little aside in Moriarty’s.) Bottom line? If you generally like Liane Moriarty’s books, you’ll probably like this one too.

I also finished The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan which is the third novel in The Brothers Sinister series. Again, my concentration has been absolute garbage this week, but I still managed to appreciate Violet and Sebastian’s science-tastic romance. We’ve met Violet and Sebastian in previous Brothers Sinister installments, but this book starts off with the revelation that all Sebastian’s scientific accolades are actually the result of Violet’s work. As usual, Milan hits the historical elements hard- there are a number of women that we know about throughout history (and many who remain un-credited) who made impressive scientific breakthroughs in a time and society where it was considered improper for women to engage in such pursuits. Violet partners with Sebastian because even though she’s attempted to submit her impressive and controversial work to professional publications, she’s summarily dismissed simply on the basis of her sex. The Countess Conspiracy is an excellent addition to The Brothers Sinister series, but I think I’m going to take a break before carrying on. Right now, I DESPERATELY want fluffy, cheeky period romances to get my mind off of things, and Milan’s tend a bit heavier. I’ll circle back around, but I’m pausing the binge read for now.

Instead, I’m going in a completely different direction and tackling Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey. Remember when I read those bonkers hippo cowboy books last year? How could I NOT pick up more Sarah Gailey after that? AND they started Magic for Liars off with a Harry Potter reference on the very first page, so this may just be the escape I need right now. Or not. There was also an extremely gruesome murder in the very little bit I read so far. IDK. I also started an audio book, though I have absolutely no idea when I’m going to finish it with my extremely limited audio time. For what it’s worth, Miracle Creek by Angie Kim is fascinating so far, but it’ll probably be a while before I’m able to tell you all about it.

So, Bookworms. How are you holding up?

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. The links in the above text direct to Amazon Kindle books, because that’s how I’m personally getting most of my books right now. Please also check out your Public Library’s Digital offerings- they’re a fantastic resource for keeping yourself entertained with zero germ spread. And, it goes without saying that Independent Book Stores are really going to be hurting during this time, so if you’d like to purchase through a local, independent book store, please consider using the links below:

The Husband’s Secret
The Countess Conspiracy
Magic for Liars
Miracle Creek

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Mar 10

2020 Weekly Wrap-Up: The Tenth

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts, Romance, Weekly Wrap-Up 3

Hey There, Hi There, Ho There, Bookworms,

Last week Jim and I went on a trip. Sammers stayed with his grandparents, and even though it was the first time we’d been away from him overnight (yes reader, I did sob when we left) he did amazing. So we took a road trip to Florida to spend some time with the Mouse. Of course, our trip coincided with the explosion of scariness with Covid-19, and as I was standing in line for It’s a Small World, surrounded by people from all over the globe, my Twitter feed was like “CANCEL ALL THE EVENTS! AVOID CROWDS!” Sooooo that put a bit of a damper on my mood, because it was clearly way too late. But, since we were already there, we made the best of things and washed our hands carefully and ate at nice restaurants and drank some wine and did all the things that we wouldn’t have been able to do with Sam in tow. Also, as far as contagions go, two adults can be fairly meticulous about cleanliness, but a toddler? Yeah he’d definitely have licked something a million people had touched, so it was probably for the best that he only licked everything in Grandma and PopPop’s house. (He had a fantastic week and was spoiled rotten. He came home with a bag of new books, a new Spiderman baseball cap, and a smiley face balloon. And clean laundry! God bless my in-laws forever and ever.)

But what about the BOOKS, Katie?! Right! Well, since we were road tripping, I spent a fair amount of time playing navigator, and trying to re-route us away from traffic in major cities. We got lucky with Nashville traffic both coming and going (though coming back we were a little concerned because a tornado had ripped through a few days earlier, but the highways were clear and safe a few days later, so good job cleanup crews, and best of luck rebuilding, Nashville!) Unfortunately, an unexpected jam in Florida and completely predictable traffic in Atlanta caught us on the way back. Anyway. I did do some reading, though, obviously not as much as usual, because of the merry making, the worrying, the navigating, etc. Before we left I purchased The Brothers Sinister series by Courtney Milan on my kindle, and I made my way through two full length novels and one novella. Romance novels are pretty much all I can handle mentally right now. The many, many, plague and apocalypse books I’ve read over the years are haunting me enough as it is. Although, every time characters get close to kissing I think to myself, “Well, y’all might as well go ahead and swap spit because you’ve already shared all kinds of droplets with your breathy exhales…” It’s not like I have an underlying anxiety disorder or anything… Oh wait…

I started Courtney Milan’s The Duchess War before we left and finished it up on the trip south. Because I’d read The Governess Affair (review), I was already familiar with the protagonist Robert, Duke of Clermont. He grew up being used as a pawn in his parents’ loveless marriage; his father was the actual worst, and his mother fled without custody of their child. A loveless yet privileged childhood was the plight of our hero. He’s considering matrimony when he meets an enigmatic young woman hiding behind a couch. Turns out, Minnie was trying to avoid her suitor by hiding, but will likely marry the awful man anyway because she has so few options. Her options are limited because of SECRETS and REASONS. So, naturally, the two fall desperately in love and have to deal with the consequences of the secrets, reasons, and childhood emotional baggage. I am enjoying Courtney Milan’s work quite a bit- her historical setting is a bit later than a lot of the Jane Austen era novels I’ve read, and I always learn some new historical tidbits by reading her books.

The next installment in The Brothers Sinister series was the sweet novella, A Kiss for MidwinterIt follows the BFF of The Duchess War‘s heroine. Lydia has a secret that could ruin her, a secret known only to a precious few, including Leicester’s sarcastic young Dr. Jonas Grantham. Dr. Grantham has taken a shine to Lydia, though she avoids him as much as possible, believing his knowledge of her secret to be a weapon. In an attempt to get close to her, Dr. Grantham proposes a wager, which, if he wins, will earn him a kiss. BECAUSE OF COURSE. Oh romance novels, never change. I really enjoyed this novella! So far most of this series has been slow-burn, so the novella rather nicely compresses that tension for the impatient among us. As far as historical tidbits, I can now proudly say that I know quite a bit more about 19th Century prophylactics than I did before. Because Dr. Grantham was a doctor, I also picked up some info on 19th Century medical care, and OOF. Apparently going directly from the autopsy table to tend to child bed WITHOUT WASHING ONE’S HANDS was standard medical practice which led to (shocker) a LOT of infection. Thankfully, our hero was extremely pro-hygiene, the radical, and therefore ranks rather highly in my esteem. There’s something that’s exceptionally sexy about hand washing these days. Whew. Wash those hands, handsome. Wash them good!

I finished up reading The Heiress Effect on our first night home from the trip, during which I stayed up too late and gave out quite a few nighttime snuggles. Normally, late night wake up calls are not my favorite (though, yes, they still happen rather frequently), but I could hardly begrudge my sweet little Sir some extra attention after being away. I daresay the half-sleep we shared in the recliner was therapeutic for us both. Look at me, digressing again. So, The Heiress Effect follows Jane Fairfield. She’s an heiress with a massive dowry, but she’s determined not to marry, at least until her little sister is of an age that she can leave the care of their misguided guardian. She behaves in a ghastly manner in society, managing to keep even the greediest of suitors at bay. Oliver Marshall, however, sees through her ruse, and despite his best efforts, is enchanted. One of the things I enjoyed most about this book were the descriptions of Jane’s fashion abominations. She’s well aware that she’s choosing garish ensembles, but she also secretly loves the bright colors and outlandish patterns. It reminded me a bit of a certain pink haired friend of mine whose fashion sense it more about her own personal delight than any popular trend.

So what am I reading this week? I’ve picked back up with my audio book of Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret (it’s starting to get especially juicy.) I’ve just begun a traditional read of the next installment of The Brothers Sinister, The Countess Conspiracy which is already proving a strong contender to be my favorite in the series. Sebastian + Violet = 4 Ever. What have you been reading, Bookworms? How are your anxiety levels? What are your go-to escapist reads?

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. The links in the text above direct to Amazon, but if you prefer to shop your local indie bookstore, click here!

 

 

 

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Mar 04

2020 Weekly Wrap-Up: The Ninth

Audio Books, Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts, Weekly Wrap-Up 1

Hiya Bookworms,

Alas, it remains cold and flu season and I have succumbed to illness. Bleh. I spent a whole day sleeping and am currently trying to do all the things that will shorten the duration of an illness. Drinking all the tea! Eating vitamin C drops! Ibuprofen! WASHING AND WASHING AND WASHING MY HANDS! It’s been a slower reading week as a result of my having been felled, but I still have some books to chat about. Let’s chat.

In case you missed it, I wrote a whole solo post dedicated to The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa. I had entirely too much to say about it for it to be smooshed into a weekly post. Check it out here.

I am fond of a number of romance tropes, but sham weddings rank pretty high on the list. XENI: A Marriage of Inconvenience by Rebekah Weatherspoon combines the sham wedding concept with “completely bonkers last will and testament demands” and I am so here for it. Xeni Everly-Wilkins is in charge of settling her dearly-departed aunt’s estate, and leaves her life in LA to handle the affairs in upstate New York. She gets more than she bargained for when the will is read, and soon finds herself married, at her late aunt’s insistence. In order for her and her spouse Mason to collect their inheritances, they need to get married and remain so for at least 30 days. But, as we all know, sham marriages in romance novels have a tendency to become more real than the characters expect… Now that I’ve read two Rebekah Weatherspoon novels I think it’s safe to say that her love scenes can sometimes be a bit more… IDK how to put it… Graphic? Creative? Spicy? Than what I’m used to. I noticed it a little bit in Rafe but Xeni was another level entirely. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy both books, because I absolutely did, but it may be worth noting for those who are more conservative in their love scene tastes. Not much fazes me personally, but there were a few points where I found myself thinking “Oh wow. They really went there. OK.” Consider yourself warned if that is the type of warning you’d appreciate. If you’re the type of person who wants a more specific content warning than that, send me an email or a DM on social media and we can discuss it further.

This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone probably wasn’t the wisest choice for my illness-addled brain. I think it would have been more enjoyable to read about a science fiction spy operative clandestine love story if I’d been feeling a bit sharper. As it was, the letters between Red and Blue were gorgeous, and often poetic, but keeping tabs on the story wasn’t the easiest. Granted, it does take place between two warring time travelers so expecting something clear and linear in their correspondence was my own mistake. But when one has taken cold medication and tried to figure out how one goes about coding letters into berries and explosions and other obscure means, things get confusing in a hurry. I might try to read this again when I’m fully healthy as it’s gotten rave reviews from others. Check it out if a time traveling Mrs. and Mrs. Smith is something you might be into.

That’s the best I can do for you this week, I’m afraid. I’ve just started The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty via audio, which is always the correct choice for Liane Moriarty books because Australian accents are better listened to than imagined. I’m eyeball reading Courtney Milan’s The Duchess War. I read her prequel novella The Governess Affair a few weeks back and decided to tackle the rest of the Brothers Sinister Series. What have you been reading, Bookworms?

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Links in the text above direct to Amazon, but if you prefer to shop through a local, independent book store, please see the links below:

Indiebound Links:
The Worst Best Man
Xeni: A Marriage of Inconvenience
Rafe: A Buff Male Nanny
This is How You Lose the Time War
The Husband’s Secret
The Duchess War

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