2020 March Wrap Up

This month I certainly didn’t get as much reading done as I’d expected to do. Firstly, I ended up getting a concussion by tripping because I’m that klutzy. So I couldn’t really read much for a a little over a week. And it was a bit longer than that before I could sit down and focus long enough to get words together in a way that got my point across in an at least semi-understandable manner.

And then came the quarantine period and social distancing. I hope that everyone who reads this is doing well and taking the appropriate precautions. I hope that you stay healthy with everything that’s going on, and so does everyone around you.While

I might be an introvert, even I need to get outside every once in a while. I found myself being unable to focus on reading being alone so often. Sure, Yzma tried to keep me as sane as possible, but eventually I found it easier to stay at my parents’ place for a while as I work from home. Being around other humans helped keep me sane. It also means that Yzma gets to see her best friend on an almost daily basis. Thankfully, playing with him tires her out and gives me time to focus on my day job.

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


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

Total books completed: 19

Total pages read: 6,290 pages (avg. 331 pages per book)

Completed Books:

  1. Don’t Cheat Me by Jackie May (Nora Jacobs, Book 2)[4 stars]
  2. Don’t Bait Me by Jackie May (Nora Jacobs, Book 3)[4.5 stars]
  3. Leo Loves Ares by Antya Sunday (Signs of Love, Book 1)[5 stars]
  4. Flashback by Shannon Messenger (Keeper of the Lost Cities, Book 7)[4.5 stars]
  5. Small Bones by Vicki Grant (Secrets)[4 stars]
  6. Alone in the Wild by Kelley Armstrong (Rockton, Book 5)[4.75 stars]
  7. Hidden Magic by Melinda Kucsera, et. al. (Magic Underground Anthologies, Book 1)
  8. Don’t Tempt Me by Jackie May (Nora Jacobs, Book 4)[4.5 stars]
  9. Her Majesty’s Necromancer by C. J. Archer (The Ministry of Curiosities, Book 2)[4 stars]
  10. Scorpio Hates Virgo by Antya Sunday (Signs of Love, Book 2)[5 stars]
  11. Perfectly Wrong by Summer Brooks [1 star]
  12. Gemini Keeps Capricorn Antya Sunday (Signs of Love, Book 3)[4 stars]
  13. Pisces Hooks Taurus Antya Sunday (Signs of Love, Book 4)[4.5 stars]
  14. Cancer Ships Aquarius Antya Sunday (Signs of Love, Book 5)[4 stars]
  15. This Time by Azaaa Davis (Nadira Holden, Demon Hunter; Book 1)[4 stars]
  16. That Night by Azaaa Davis (Nadira Holden, Demon Hunter; Book 2)[4 stars]
  17. Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder (Glass, Book 1; The Chronicles of Ixia, Book 4)[4.5 stars]
  18. Dream Keeper by Amber R. Duell (The Dark Dreamer Trilogy, Book 1)[5 stars]
  19. In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by Michael McLellan [4 stars]

 

Dedicated Blog Posts:

  1. Don’t Cheat Me by Jackie May
  2. Leo Loves Ares by Antya Sunday
  3. Don’t Bait Me by Jackie May
  4. Flashback by Shannon Messenger
  5. Alone in the Wild by Kelley Armstrong
  6. Small Bones by Vicki Grant
  7. Hidden Magic by Melinda Mucsera & Many More
  8. Don’t Tempt Me by Jackie May
  9. Perfectly Wrong by Summer Brooks
  10. Scorio Hates Virgo by Antya Sunday
  11. That Night by Azaaa Davis
  12. Dream Keeper by Amer R. Duell
  13. In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by Michael McLellan

 

Wrap Up:

Don’t Cheat Me:

A month after Nora’s not so smooth introduction to Detroit’s Underworld, she’s finally settling down into her life as the only resident human. All she wants to do is settle down, enjoy time with her new friends, and stay safe. However, that’s easier said than done when news of her psychic abilities continue to spread. When the alpha of a local werewolf pack asks her to help them figure out who’s been stealing from them, Nora finds herself in the midst of some business that can have some serious backlash for her and her people. If that alone isn’t difficult enough, Nora’s succubus friend, Cecile, is determined to throw Nora the best Underworld coming out party ever. For someone who hates to be in the limelight, this party might just be the hardest part for Nora.

The second book in this series, I’m not sure why I took so long to pick it up. I enjoyed this story just as much as the first, and found myself pulled into the world so quickly it was if I hadn’t even left. A reverse harem story, it’s not the typical romance I’m used to reading and that just added to the appeal for me. Plus the supernatural aspects were fantastic.

Don’t Bait Me:

Having been outed as an Underworlder, Nora tries even harder than before to lay low and decide if she wants to date any of the men in her life. Shortly after the fiasco with the werewolves, Terrance is nearly killed by an unknown attacker – and he’s not the only victim. Fey all around the city are being murdered, and Nora finds herself once again tasked to help solve the mystery. Not only does being fey herself make Nora a target, but the killer went after her troll.

The third book in this series, I loved getting to know more about Nora and her men. I loved getting to meet new characters and continue to fall in love with the older ones.

Leo Loves Area:

Theo Wallace usually laughs at the horoscopes his mother sends out. Still stuck on his ex-girlfriend, Theo finds himself practically friendlesse. When Theo’s sister Leone challenges him to find her the perfect date for a spring wedding, Theo uses it as an excuse to invite a new friend into his life. Theo’s ex economics tutor and newest roommate might just be the answer to his challenge. According to the stars, Jamie Cooper might just be the perfect match for a Leo, and therefore the perfect match for Leone. All he has to do is make sure Jamie is good enough for his sister.

This story was my introduction to the male male subgenre of romance and I adored it. Of course I had to read the rest of the series right after this one. This story opened my eyes to a side of the romance genre I hadn’t given much thought to before, and though I’m a cisgendered straight woman, I’m starting to figure out that I really do love love.

Flashback:

Sophie doesn’t know whom or what to believe anymore. In a game with an unknown large number of players, the worst mistake can be focusing on the wrong threat. When the Neverseen proves that Sophie’s even more vulnerable than she could have ever realized, it’s time for her to change the rules. Tired of being a passive player in her life, Sophie is going to learn how to fight back. After all, her powers can only get her so far.

Another thrilling installation in this series, Messenger had found new ways to wring out every last emotion from me. While I’m still loving this world and everything in it, I don’t know how much more my nerves can handle. I can only imagine what Sophie must be feeling! Of course, I can’t wait to get my hands on the next novel the moment I have enough time set aside to sit down and devour the whole thing.

Small Bones:

Dot, whose name reflects her stature, is known for dreaming big. She’s always wanted to be a dress designer, but her dreams are put on hold while she searches for the truth about her parents. When Dot gets a job as a seamstress at a lakeside resort, she falls hard for Eddie – a charming local boy who is equal parts helpful and distracting. Searching for answers about her birth in a new town, Dot learns more than she ever wanted to about the terrible effects of war, the legacy of deceit, and the enduring nature of love.

While historical fiction isn’t my go to genre, I really did enjoy seeing Dot figure out where it is she comes from. Grant did a fantastic job at making the story feel real, of making me feel  for Dot and her misadventures.

Alone in the Wild:

Every season in Rockton seems to bring with it new challenges for Detective Casey Duncan. While on a much needed camping vacation with her boyfriend, Sheriff Eric Dalton, Casey hears the unmistakable sound of a baby crying in the woods. The sound leads them to a woman buried under the snow, murdered, a baby still alive in her arms. A town that denies entry to anyone under eighteen, Rockton must take care of the youngest resident yet while solving yet another murder and finding out where the baby came from – and whether she’s better off staying in Rockton.

There’s not much I can say about this story without spoiling anything, so I’ll leave you with this: There’s a reason Armstrong is one of my favourite authors. This world in well developed, the characters have my heart, and I feel for them – I really do. I can’t wait for the next story and to find out what Casey and Eric are going to get themselves into next.

Hidden Magic:

This anthology is the begging of the trilogy. It’s got stories about shamans and witches, assassins and everyday people, and everything in between. If you’re a fan of fantasy stories, I’m certain that you’ll be able to find something you enjoy within these pages. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new favourite tale or author.

Don’t Tempt Me:

Something’s going on with Nora and even she doesn’t seem to be able to figure out how to beat it. While she and her men search for answers on how to combat a siren’s dark nature, Nora must simultaneously deal with her first official case with the FUA. Someone is stealing mythical creates and they need to be stopped before they can steal the magic of the most powerful Underworlders.

The fourth and final book in this series, I was quite content with how things ended up for Nora and her men. While there’s so much more of this world that’s still left to explore, I find myself happy with the conclusion of this tale. Of course I’m going to miss these characters, but they’ll always be there if I want to jump back into this world with them.

Her Majesty’s Necromancer:

When bodies go missing from the cemetery, Lincoln and the Ministry investigate. But not Charlie. As a housemaid at Lichfield Towers, she isn’t to get involved in Ministry business. Instead, she leads an investigation of her own, trying to find out anything she can about her birth mother. She might also start digging into Lincoln’s past and need to decide if what she finds is worth breaking the tenuous trust that’s building between them.

Charlie hasn’t lived the easiest life, but living at Lichfield Towers has given her more than she could’ve ever wanted. In this tale, is she willing to risk it all in her quest for the truth? I adored reading about Charlie’s thought process and the decisions she makes. I certainly hope you do, too.

Scorpio Hates Virgo:

Percy Freedman isn’t grieving over his dead aunt at all. Selling her house is the best idea he’s ever had and leaving the neighbourhood he’s called home for years is the sane decision to make. Who wants to be constantly reminded of the person they’ve lost, to smell the smells and know he’ll never get those hugs again? The cul-de-sac neighbours seem determined to change Percy’s mind – including his nemesis Callaghan. When Percy finds himself lured into a game of Sherlock Gnomes, he finds himself hanging out with his neigbours more than ever before.

The second book in this series can be read alone, though it does have some character overlap with Leo Loves Ares. The plot is unique and the characters are just as heart wrenching. Sunday has done a fantastic job at creating a world I love to visit.

Perfectly Wrong:

While an enemies to lover story can be done well, I don’t think that this is it. A childhood bully turned superstar quarterback turned lover tale that, in my opinion, did everything wrong. There are no real resolutions in this story and things are constantly slipped under the rug. I highly recommend looking elsewhere for a good romance novel.

Gemini Keeps Capricorn:

Wesley adores annoying his RA, Lloyd. He can’t help it – Lloyd is focused, decisive, grounded… and has a propensity to follow all the rules. Wesley yearns to get Lloyd to break one… or three hundred. Yet Lloyd is full of principles, utterly unshakable. Of course, that doesn’t stop Wesley from trying again… and again. Lloyd is exactly what Wesley needs whenever he needs it – especially when his truant brother needs help with his old high school principal.

Having barely spent any time in my dorm room when I had one, it was interesting to see the slice of life where dormmates actually interact with each other. I adored seeing the way that everyone interacted with each other and how the RAs remained friendly but not too close with the dormies. While I enjoyed my experience living in a dorm – and spending more time with my friends outside of the dorm than the people living near me – it was great to see how other people live through this experience.

Pisces Hooks Taurus:

Zane has his life planned out. Land the perfect Meet Cute, fall in love, and live happily ever after. A little outside of the box thinking, and Zane would soon find himself married to the woman of his dreams. Of course, he needs all of this to come true before his visa expires. Yet as the time crunch becomes pressing, Zane finds himself dealing with muddled feelings and morphed metaphors. It’s a good thing he’s met an English professor to help him figure things out. While their first meeting was anything but cute, this down to earth teacher might be the realist that Zane needs to get his butt in gear.

While I felt this tale had a lot of elements from the previous books in the series, I still really enjoyed how they were used. These unique characters and situation gave these recurring elements a new feel. Throw in missed references and an oblivious character and this story gave me lots to love.

Cancer Ships Aquarius:

Dumped once again by a girl who he thought he’d spend forever with, Reid is alone and in need of a home. Desperate, e becomes the live in nanny aboard the houseboat/yacht, the Aquarian. The job? While advertised to look after thirteen year old Joanna, it’s really the young mastermind’s plan to have Reid befriend her father, urge him to become more active in her life, encourage him to date, and become his closest confidant so he can extract her father’s bottled up emotions. No pressure.

I really enjoyed the relationships that were formed in this novel. They made the story for me and I couldn’t help but root for Joanna. Sunday did another fantastic job at making this romance feel real. I can’t wait for more in this series, to find out how others will fall in love and in what ways they’re all connected to each other.

This Time:

Resurrected into present day New York, Nadira Holden is asked to save the world… again. After achieving legendary status when she gave her life to protect humans from the demons, Nadira is unprepared for what the world is like just twenty short years later. People have made peace with the demons, worshiping them like celebrities. No one wants to believe that these beautiful creatures who brought magic to humans could be causing the disappearance of so many. When Nadira’s father goes missing, she’s done playing nice. It’s time to fight, to protect.

This story mixes badass demon hunting with sweet romance undertones. Nadira isn’t afraid to do whatever she needs to in order to get the job done. This story has Buffy the Vampire Slayer tones, and I adored it.

That Night:

All Nadira wants is to preserve the last of her soul and live a life free of magic, demons, and war. Of course, her involuntary bond with a succubus makes this impossible. Urged to find the succubus’ missing body, Nadia’s only hope of avoiding demonic possession involves working with the only demon she can tolerate without slaying. Except Derek has his hands full with his own issues. Desperate, Nadira agrees to help Derek with his issue in exchange for aid in her investigation.

This wonderful tale expanded on everything I enjoyed in This Time. The same badass heroine, the same strong morals. And, of course, the same twisted world that I can’t get enough of.

 Storm Glass:

As a glass maker and a magician in training, Opal Cowan has come to understand trial by fire. Someone has been sabotaging the Stormdancers, resulting in multiple deaths and requiring Opal’s unique magical abilities. When the mission goes awry, Opal needs to tap into a new kind of magic, a magic even she didn’t know existed let alone how to utilize it. With lives hanging in the balance – others as well as her own – Opal must learn to control her powers before fear of the unknown overtakes the nation once again.

Having already fallen in love with this world, I decided to jump straight back in. While I’ve previously read all of Yelena’s tales, I didn’t realize that Opal’s stories were technically part of the same series. I’m glad that I picked this book up and jumped straight back into this fantastic world. I highly recommend checking these stories out if you haven’t already.

Dream Keeper:

The Sandman is Nora’s closest friend – as well as her deepest secret. He has to be if she doesn’t want another trip to the psychiatrist. When Nora’s friends start mysteriously dying gruesome deaths in their sleep, Nora isn’t surprised to find herself as the police’s suspect. She finds herself turning to the Sandman for answers, even if the truth is more than she bargained for.

Over the last five years, the Sandman has been protecting Nora. He hid the Nightmare Lord’s escape inside of her dreams, but never expected to fall in love with her. Neither did he think his nemesis would find her so quickly. The Nightmare Lord is tired of playing by the rules and will do anything to escape and once again release his deadly nightmares into the Day World – including tormenting Nora until she breaks.

I’m quickly coming to realize that I absolutely adore Duell’s writing. This is the second book I’ve read by her after reading When Stars Are Bright in February. I enjoyed this read as much as the first, rooting for Nora and the Sandman while being exceptionally thankful my nightmares aren’t nearly as terrifying.

In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree:

Born into slavery, Henry’s young life contained of working in tobacco drying sheds on Missouri plantations. Freed at the onset of the Civil War, he’s alone, starving, and on the run. Five years later, Clara Hanfield escapes her tyrannical father in pursuit of John Elliot, the man that she loves. John, a US Army lieutenant, was sent to Dakota Territory where he discovers a government conspiracy to incite an all out war with the “Indians”. Henry finds himself caught in the middle.

This is a fantastic historical fiction novel filled with morals and hard hitting plot lines. This book does a fantastic job at portraying life at this time (from what I’ve learned from school, the gruesome truths in this book are just that). This time was grueling for many people, and this story does a fanastic job at shedding light on a dark time in history.

 


 

As per usual, I didn’t read nearly enough of the monthly TBR I’d set for myself. However, I think I had a couple of valid reasons for not hitting everything on my list. Many of the books I’d planned to read this month I’ve started and didn’t finish. I made the silly decision to not bring any physical books with me to my parents place when I came here for the quarantine. I hope to rectify that soon as I certainly miss holding a physical book in my hands and jumping into the world within its pages.

I hope that you managed to get a decent amount of reading done this month. I hope that you’ve been safe during this precarious time and are not getting antsy being cooped up at home.

And finally, time for my question of the month: What was your favourite read this month, and what made it jump out to you?

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