Secrets of the Mermaid by Catherine Stine

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pages: 288

Series: The Keepers of Knowledge, Book 6

Genres: Paranormal Romance; Urban Fantasy; Supernatural; Mermaids

Publication date: March 15, 2021

.

Indigo Rain is regretful of a dark past, leading to a vow to remain alone and focus on researching ancient merfolk tribes. When she unearths a seabed burial site that even she cannot identify, she shares this with a High Council merfolk historian… keeping one shocking secret to herself.

Bay Finley is the flirty Royal merfolk Keeper assigned to teach Indigo on Pyreshore, a glamoured city of supernaturals tasked with keeping their invaluable knowledge alive. Indigo thinks Bay is a haughty know-it-all, but also dangerously handsome. He’s engaged to Abigail Torrent, a Royal, unlike Indigo. But he’s begun spending a lot of time in the lab…

Indigo has three quests:
Uncover the mystery of the burial tablet, resist falling in love, and never, ever reveal her biggest secret, even to the Keepers.

.

Another tortured cry rang out. It was a bass howl from a barrel chest, a thick, muscled neck. Bay. Some deep part of her knew it was him and that he was in grave trouble, in agonizing pain. She hurried to the stepladder without turning one last time

Chapter Six

.

10 books, 10 authors, 10 keepers, 1 shared world!

Books can be read in any order!

.

This story gave me everything I wanted from it and then a little bit more. Maybe it’s the anthropology major in me and maybe it’s just general human curiosity, but I absolutely adored getting to follow Indigo as she unearthed artifacts and looked into her peoples’ past. I adored her unearthing the mystery surrounding her tablet and the secret she’s keeping from everyone.

Following Indigo and Bay was a great way to give two different perspectives into the story as it unfolded. Both people of scientific mindsets, it was fascinating to see the way they tackled the mystery around their artifacts so differently. Yet one ends up believing what they see as fact while the other remains a skeptic way longer than I would have been.

While this is the sixth book in the series, each book is written by a different author about a different supernatural race within this world – vampires, mimics, witches, merfolk, gargoyles, sphinxes, werewolves, fae, and the other animal shifters. This makes it extremely easy to pick up any of the stories regardless of their “order” in the series. I’m thrilled to have picked up Secrets of the Mermaid – clearly, the story about the merfolk – as an introduction to the series as now I can’t wait to continue on with the world. What else will these supernatural creatures have in store?

.

Continue reading “Secrets of the Mermaid by Catherine Stine”

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Pages: 406

Series: The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club, Book 1

Genres: Fantasy; Mystery; Historical Fiction; Young Adult; SciFi; Horror; Retellings

Publication date: June 20, 2017

.

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular points towards Edward Hyde, her father’s former assistant and a murderer, being nearby. Knowing about a reward for information leading towards his capture, Mary knows this reward would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

When the hunt heads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, she finds a feral child left to be raised by nuns. Assisted by Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for Hyde and the truth about her father’s life. She soon befriends more woman, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

Their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power crazed scientists, causing the horrors of their pasts to return. Now it’s up to these “monsters” to triumph over the monstrous.

.

Diana: Why do women have to wear such rotten clothes? I mean, you’ve got the chemise, and then the corset and then the corset cover. And that’s before you’ve even put on the shirt waist. What’s the point?

Beatrice: Clothing is one means of enforcing women’s social and political subordination. That is why we must support rational dress.

Catherin: Are you seriously going to have an argument about this in the middle of my book?

Beatrice: OUR book. As you keep reminding us. And I know you agree with me, Catherin.

Chapter Eleven

.

I went into this read not knowing much of anything about it. Truth be told, I hadn’t even read the synopsis before I picked the read up. I’d heard a lot of BookTubers talk about the book recently, and many of them that I tend to have the same general taste in books have recommended it. On top of that, the cover is gorgeous and I absolutely love fantastical retellings of classic novels. So, naturally, I had to pick it up.

And I’m so glad that I did. I fell in love with this story almost instantly. The way that this story is told is unconventional, but made it even more enjoyable for me. As well, if you have the opportunity to listen to the AudioBook version I would highly recommend it. Kate Reading did a phenomenal job narrating this story and making it feel alive. Each character is distinct – both in tone and voice – and makes it truly feel like a group of friends talking over each other. It was perfect.

Goss herself did a phenomenal job at making this story feel real. I could picture the scene’s in my mind’s eye perfectly. I could see Mary’s calm anger or disappointment as it was described. I could visualize Diana’s rowdy behaviour and her scampering over the rooftops. Justine’s gentleness was clear as day, her unwillingness to be the monster she thought herself.

The only thing I didn’t enjoy about this story is the fact that it ended. Sure I’m lucky enough that I can jump straight into the second story if I chose to – and believe me, I plan on picking the next story up state! – but still. This mystery was thrilling and I loved every second of it. I loved the clues slowly making their way known. Even having previously read all of the classic stories that are referenced in this one, each character felt new to me. Each story felt unique and new. Beloved characters took a new twist and I loved every new characteristic that Goss gave them.

If you’re looking for a fun and thrilling YA fantasy story, I would highly recommend this one. You don’t have to have read the classic stories – like Jekyll and Hyde, Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes, etc – in order to enjoy this story. While I adored being able to compare and contrast this “retelling” with the classic tales, it’s a fantastic read all on its own without needing to compare it to the source material. You can certainly believe that I’ll be reading the next story – and posting about it – soon.

.

Continue reading “The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss”

2021 Asian Readathon TBR

Having enjoyed this Readathon so immensely both last year and the year before (my 2019 TBR and Wrap Up; my 2020 TBR and Wrap Up), I look forward to participating again this year. If you haven’t heard of the Asian Readathon before, it’s a month long Readathon in May created by Cindy (from WithCindy) all about reading, enjoying, discovering, and appreciating Asian authors.

For more information about the Readathon, I suggest checking out their Twitter “@asianreadathon” or watch Cindy’s Announcement Video. This is also an easy way to find the Master List of Book Suggestions and Reading Goals/Prompts for the Readathon.

.

**For anyone who’s here for the first time, I’ve organized the books by Physical Books, eBooks, Audiobooks, Kindle Unlimited, and Library Books. **

.

Readathon Challenges:

  1. Read any book written by an Asian author.
  2. Read any book featuring an Asian protagonist.
  3. Read any book written by an Asian author in your favourite genre.
  4. Read any non-fiction book written by an Asian Author.
  5. Read any book written by an Asian author that’s not US centric.

.

While I expect to deviate from this selection of books slightly, and to add to it as the month progresses, here is my (current) TBR for the Readathon:


Continue reading “2021 Asian Readathon TBR”

2021 May TBR

April was a crazy month for me (reading wise, at least), so of course I’m just going to ramp up my reading for May. Why wouldn’t I make things harder on myself?

All jokes aside, I do have a lot more books on my TBR for this month that usual. In this post alone there is a high number of books that I would like to get to, even if I doubt I can realistically get to all of them by the end of the month. There are certainly books that I’ll need to prioritize in order to get review out on time for Book Tours. I also have another post coming out – later today, in fact – that contains even more books that I plan on reading this month. Like I have for the last two years, I plan on participating in the Asian Readathon that takes place in the month of May. While my TBR for this Readathon isn’t nearly as lofty, I hope to read a nice, wide selection of books for the Readathon. Which means adding even more books to my plans for the month.

**For anyone who’s here for the first time, I’ve organized the books by Physical Books, eBooks, AudioBooks, Kindle Unlimited, and Library books. **

As always, I expect to deviate from the TBR a bit, but here are the books I look forward to choosing from this month:

Total books: 18

Blank


Continue reading “2021 May TBR”

2021 April Wrap Up

I think we can all admit that my April TBR was a little bit lofty… It should come as no shock to anyone that I didn’t manage to read all 17 books that I’d added to the list for the month. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m not happy with the amount that I got read this month. Quite the contrary, I’m proud of myself for managing to read as much as I did.

17 books is a lot to try and read while working full time and having other life commitments. I also deviated from my planned books a little bit here are there. So, 17 might not be the total books that I completed this month, but I’m certainly pleased with the books I did manage to finish.

I’m also thrilled with the quality of books that I read this month. In general I try to read stories that I think I’m going to enjoy – who purposely picks up a book hoping to hate it? – but even still, some of the books I read this month far exceeded my expectations of them. In fact, I might have read a couple of all time favourite books this month. And that’s pretty darn cool! (More on this later!)

.

As always, here are some pictures of my pup, Yzma. (Shameless plug for her adorable PupStagram account @YzmaTheHound):

.

Or, check out my BookStagram account (@PhantomOfTheLibrary1995):

.

Without further ado, here’s my reading stats for April:


For reference: Physical books, eBooks, AudioBooks, and Library books.

Total titles completed: 14

Total pages read: 3,575 pages (avg. 275 pages) + 1 AudioBook of unspecified pages


Completed Books:

  1. A Stitch in Time by Kelley Armstrong (Thorne Manor, Book 1)[5 stars] 336 pages
  2. Aofie’s Quest by Angela J. Ford (Goodreads)[3.5 stars] 586 pages
  3. Gifted by Andy Lewter (Valens, Book 1)[4 stars] 210 pages
  4. Condition Black by Stu Jones and Gareth Worthington (Goodreads)[5 stars] 332 pages
  5. Oracle of Philadelphia by Elizabeth Corrigan (Earthbound Angels, Book 1)[4 stars] 222 pages
  6. The Witches of Vegas by Mark Rosendorf (The Witches of Vegas, Book 1) (Goodreads)[4 stars] 272 pages
  7. Witching on a Star by Erin Bedford (Academy of Witches, Book 1)[2.5 stars] 187 pages
  8. Borrowed Treasure by Jessica Tastet (Website)[4 stars] 231 pages
  9. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha Trilogy, Book 1)[3 stars] 358 pages
  10. The Bird that Sang in Color by Grace Mattioli (Goodreads)[3.5 stars] ? pages
  11. Jukebox Hero by Jason Stuart (Sledgehammer: A Rock and Roll Fable, Book 1) (Amazon)[3.5 stars] 407 pages
  12. Secrets of the Mermaid by Catherine Stine (The Keepers of Knowledge, Book 6)[4 stars] 288 pages
  13. Signs of Love: Winter by Anyta Sunday (Signs of Love, Exclusive eNovella)[4 stars] 71 pages
  14. Signs of Love: Spring by Anyta Sunday (Signs of Love, Book 0.6 )[3.5 stars] 75 pages

.

.


Review Posts:

  1. Gifted by Andy Lewter
  2. Condition Black by Gareth Worthington and Stu Jones
  3. The Peasant’s Dream by Melanie Dickerson
  4. The Forever Crew by C.M. Stunich
  5. A Stitch in Time by Kelley Armstrong
  6. The Oracle of Philadelphia by Elizabeth Corrigan
  7. The Witches of Vegas by Mark Rosendorf
  8. Borrowed Treasure by Jessica Tastet
  9. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  10. Jukebox Hero by Jason Stuart
  11. The Bird that Sang in Color by Grace Mattioli
  12. Mistletoe Match by Lindzee Armstrong
  13. Witching on a Star by Erin Bedford

.

Spotlight Posts:

  1. The Demon of Yodok by Adria Carmichael
  2. Everyday Magic by Charlie Laidlaw
  3. The 48 Laws of Happiness by Dr. Rob Carpenter

.


Continue reading “2021 April Wrap Up”

Witching on a Star by Erin Bedford

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Pages: 187

Series: Academy of Witches, Book 1

Genres: Reverse Harem; Paranormal; Magic; Witches; Paranormal Romance; Romance; Young Adult; Urban Fantasy

Publication date: August 3, 2018

.

All her life, Max knew she was destined for more. On the eve of her high school graduation she finds out that she’s a witch, completely changing her future plans. Now Max isn’t headed to an Ivy League school like she’d always expected, but to the Witch’s Academy to learn what being a witch entails.

If Max hopes to survive her new destiny, she’ll have to deal with a mean girls clique, way too sexy for their own good bad boys, and a popularity contest she didn’t want to win. Turns out magic has more consequences than Max realized. Here’s hoping she’s more prepared than she thinks to handle it.

.

“Your mother had quite the head on her shoulders as well. Never was one for political bullshit.” I gaped at the headmaster. Maybe I had assessed him a bit too soon. “Forgive me, my dear, but after doing this job for two decades, your failure to fall at my feet with promises of blessings from your family makes you a breath of fresh air.”

Chapter Six

.

I picked up this story as my April Buzzword pick. The prompt this month was “Galaxy Terms”, so I figured a book with star in the title was as good a pick as any. I found Witching on a Star in my kindle account, so picked it up and hoped for the best.

I have to say, I found myself disappointed in this read. I really wanted to love it. It’s got so many things that I adore in a book – magic, mayhem, discovering you have powers you didn’t know you had, a reverse harem… It’s even my favourite genre to read – Urban Fantasy. Yet I just did not enjoy my time in this world.

I’ve been known to enjoy books with a Mary Sue main character, but I just couldn’t get behind Max. For someone who spent her entire life not knowing that she was a witch, everything seemed to be handed to her on a silver platter. She might start out in remedial level courses, but she’s not there long. She breaks countless magical rules in this story but never has to face consequences for her actions.

The “bad boys” that are promised in the synopsis aren’t even true bad boys. Sure, one of the boys she’s interested in can be considered to be a “bad boy”, but the rest really can’t be. The golden boy of the school, a potions major who happens to be physically large, and a boy that works in the main office of the Academy do not make for bad boys in my opinion. I have no problem with the boys all having their own personalities – on the contrary, I encourage it – but they don’t fit the advertisements that were sent my way.

Even the “conflict” in this story wasn’t really compelling. I spent the whole book waiting for something to happen and nothing did. Sure, “something” happened, but it wasn’t something powerful enough for me to consider it worthy of being the main conflict of a story.

As much as I was excited to pick this book up when I saw it, I don’t see myself continuing on in the series. Maybe it’s because I’ve read a lot of amazing books lately and maybe this kind of YA book just isn’t my cup of tea anymore (I doubt it as I still read a lot of YA magical stories, but I want to give this story the benefit of a doubt), but I didn’t enjoy my time in this world. I waited a couple of days after reading the book to actually type out this review, and if I hadn’t taken notes while reading it I honestly wouldn’t have remembered what happened in this story. A forgettable story (to me) isn’t worth continuing a series.

Mistletoe Match by Lindzee Armstrong

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Pages: 191

Series: No Match for Love, Book 6

Genres: Romance; Christmas; Contemporary: Contemporary Romance; Chick Lit

Publication date: October 24, 2016

.

Michelle Collins is on a mission to end animal testing and no matter how irresistible a mystery man might be, he won’t stand in her way. It seems like Christmas magic when she kisses a mysterious stranger under the mistletoe – until she finds out he’s Austin O’Neal, the new marketing director of the company she’s sworn to destroy.

.

.

This was not a book for me. Stances were taken in this story that gave me hope, only to be dashed by unjust stereotypes and false narratives. I understand this is a work of fiction, but sometimes carrying on a false narrative hurts the plotline more than it helps it. The story had promise and fell short.

While that might seem like an extreme stance to take on the book, it’s one that I continue to stand by 7 months after having read this story. I was hoping that this story would surprise me and take a turn for the better, but it didn’t. The other books that I’ve read in this series – Miss Match and Strike a Match were much more my speed than this one was. I’m glad that this wasn’t the first book that I read by Lindzee Armstrong otherwise I might not have picked up another one of her works. As it is, I plan on reading more of Armstrong’s works, even continue on in this series, as I still believe that this story was an exception to my enjoyment of her works.

.


.

Other Review on this series:

  1. Miss Match (Book 1)
  2. Strike a Match (Book 5)

The 48 Laws of Happiness by Dr. Rob Carpenter

The48Laws

During times like these finding ways to be happy seems like a no brainer! Check out The 48 Laws of Happiness by Dr. Rob Carpenter! Psst… There’s also a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card (International)

The 48 Laws of Happiness Front Cover

.

The 48 Laws of Happiness: Secrets Revealed for Becoming the Happiest You

Expected Publication Date: April 27th, 2021

Genre: Non-Fiction/ Self-Improvement

.

UNLOCK THE SECRETS TO HAPPINESS

  • Do you want to discover the untold secrets of happiness in a fun and uplifting read that could change your life?
  • Have you ever been told you should choose to be happy but then not taught how to be happy?

  • Is becoming the happiest possible version of yourself something you would like to achieve right now?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you have looked in the right place! In The 48 Laws of Happiness, Dr. Rob Carpenter will teach you how to be happier in every area of your life. Using practical, “how-to” approaches, easily digestible mini-chapters, cutting edge research, and inspirational stories of people from around the world, Dr. Rob will show you the secrets to happiness and what you can do to overcome the common traps preventing you from being the happiest and most confident, version of yourself.

Available on Amazon

.


.

About the Author

Dr. Rob Carpenter—known simply as Dr. Rob— miraculously survived a tragic accident and vowed to not only rebuild his life, but to help other people rebuild their lives too. He has become a transformational author, filmmaker, and CEO who now advises professional athletes, celebrities, business titans, and everyday people so they can become the best version of themselves.

Dr. Rob has been featured in the New York Times, Business Insider, and People Magazine, has been a former professor and filmmaker at the 2x Emmy Award Winning USC Media Institute for Social Change, and is host of The Dr. Rob show. He founded The School of Happiness and has countless resources available on his website DrRob.TV to help uplift humanity.

Dr. Rob is the first in his family to graduate from college.

Rob Carpenter

.


.

International Giveaway: Click the link below for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

.


.

Book Blitz Organized By:

R&R Book Tours

The Bird That Sang in Color by Grace Mattioli

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Pages: I’m going to be honest, I listened to this story on Audible so I’m not sure how many pages there are – not even for the eBook version of this story.

Goodreads: The Bird that Sang in Color

Genres: Literary Fiction

Publication date: January 17, 2021

.

In her teens, Donna Greco subscribes to a conventional view of success in life – and pushes her freewheeling, artistic brother, Vincent, to do the same. However, he remains single, childless, and subsists in cramped apartments. She harbours guilt for her supposed failure in relation to his happiness until she discovers a sketch-book he’d made of his life. In fact, it prompts her own journey to live authentically.

Focusing on serious issues such as alcoholism, death, and family conflict, Mattioli manages to balance the serious with wit and humour. The story spans decades, beginning in 1970 and ending in the present. Readers will be left wondering “What pictures will you have of yourself by the end of your life?”

.

“I just really always thought I had to live a certain way to be happy. I can still hear my dad telling me to be sure to marry rich. You know, it’s funny the voices that get stuck in your head, even when you know they’re wrong. But yesterday it just all hit me. I have all the thing I thought I always wanted and I’m fucking miserable. All I need is myself to be happy. But I don’t have myself as long as I’m lying to myself.”

Chapter Twelve

.

I found this to be a very cute slice of life story. It took me about an hour of listening to the story to really get into it, but once that first car ride was over I found myself sitting in my parked car, waiting for the chapter to be over before I turned the story off. I didn’t want it to end, even though I needed to get out of the car and go about my day.

Part of what I really liked about this story is how real the situations felt. Donna’s life wasn’t an easy one but she never gave up. She kept pushing herself forward towards finding her own happiness. She pushed back against societal ideals about “the perfect life” or being the perfect wife. Heck, Donna even learned to push her loved ones towards their own happiness instead of doing what they were told would make them happy. Of course, she also learned when it’s best to hold her tongue and let her loved ones figure things out on their own.

Life isn’t easy and I appreciate the fact that Mattioli didn’t sugarcoat it in this story. She dealt with harder topics and issues people face throughout their lifetimes. She showcased what it’s like to realize you’re unhappy but worth being happy. How getting out of a bad situation can make all the difference in the world in finding your inner happiness.

.

Continue reading “The Bird That Sang in Color by Grace Mattioli”

Jukebox Hero by Jason Stuart

JukeboxHero

“PRETTY IN PINK MEETS MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE”

Is that a great tagline or what? Welcome to the tour for Jukebox Hero by Jason Stuart! Read on for book details and a chance to win an amazing giveaway — A signed copy of the book AND in keeping with the theme, a couple of John Hughes box sets (80’s movie classics)!

.

Untitled_Artwork

Jukebox Hero

(SledgeHammer: A Rock and Roll Fable #1)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Expected Publication Date: April 30th, 2021

Genre: 80s Mashup/ Superhero Fantasy

Publisher: Burnt Bridge

.

It’s Back to the ’80’s like never before!

Things aren’t all rainbows and cupcakes at the corner of Elm and E streets. Molly Slater just wants to forget everything she can’t remember and play heavy metal with her best friend in the garage. And maybe get a date for prom if he’s not a skeeze.

But someone in this ‘burb has been killing redheads, and Molly has the reddest hair of them all.

When a night of babysitting gone wrong gets her in the crosshairs of the local gang scene, Molly discovers fabulous secrets about herself.

The hunted becomes the hunter as she prowls the darkness that has crept into her sleepy town. But a far more sinister force, some thing from another world, has other plans in store for her…

Available on Amazon

.


.

Excerpt

Sister Christian”

—Night Ranger, 1983

 

Three standing grandfather clocks gazed down at her that morning, ten years to the day since they found her wandering alone with no memory—not even a name.

There, at the corner of Elm and E Street, Molly Slater (the name they’d given her) gripped her Fender Stratocaster like it were a weapon forged for her hands. Her fingerless gloves whispered at the strings, ready to saw down some serious noise. Jordache jacket with the sleeves ripped off at the shoulder. Purple lipstick and double-earrings. Corvette red hair. Bette Davis Eyes.

The garage smelled like the early morning—no other sound but her Cons slapping the dewy concrete. She kicked away shorted out gizmos and various half-finished contraptions littering the cold slab floor. Hoyt, her foster dad, fancied himself the inventor. Any day now he’d invent their way into riches untold. Any day now.

Those grandfather clocks ticked at her as she plugged into the Peavey. More of Hoyt’s tinkering, thinking he could set his machines by them. Each triggered a different chain reaction every morning. One fed the dog. Another opened the garage to the day. A third…well it never worked anyway. She stared at them, as did they her in return. They held no judgment, only the looming doom of the impending hour.

As the garage doors groaned, opening to the dim autumn light outside, she cranked up and twist-tuned her axe. She gave it a gooseneck and sliced right in. Mötley. Halen. Bowie. Duran. Whitesnake. Saxon. Maiden! Fluidly, she moved from one riff to another. She was totally, epically zoned.

She lived in that fifteen minutes.

Those granddads thundered their terrible news.

The parentals shouted.

“Shut that racket off! You’re gonna be late, I swear to every god,” the mother said. As if there were gods. Molly just shook her head, put up the guitar and grabbed her bag. “And put on a hat on that red hair. I don’t want you getting murdered by that maniac!”

So dramatic. Like anything that interesting could ever happen.

She always knew it would be like this.

.

Continue reading “Jukebox Hero by Jason Stuart”