September 2021 Wrap Up

As we get closer and closer to the present, I can remember a bit more of what I was doing with my time. That isn’t to say I saw doing a lot – who is doing a lot with everything going on in the world? – but at least now I can sort of remember what I did throughout the month.

And September was the month that my sister and brother in law got me into bouldering. If you don’t know what bouldering is, I didn’t either until relatively recently. I tried it once a couple of years back when I visited by sister in England, but before then I’d never heard of it.

Bouldering is climbing, but without ropes. No harness, no ropes or tethers to hold you onto the wall. Just your own strength to keep yourself on the wall. And oh boy do you need incredible finger strength. I’ve always prided myself on my upper body strength, but it’s been years since I could easily hold my entire body up for an extended period of time. I might have been able to do pullups at one point in my life, but my years of climbing everything in sight have long passed. Bouldering is much more challenging than I’d expected going into it and I’m constantly amazed at what some people are able to do.

Heck, go check out CaptainCutloose, ShaunaCoxsey, or any of the other amazing athletes that are out there.

In regards to reading, this month was slightly better than August. Certainly different from the reading I normally talk about, but better nonetheless. It would hard to be worse, after all…

I’ve rambled enough about non-book related things, so here’s this month’s review.

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But first, obligatory pictures of Yzma:

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Continue reading “September 2021 Wrap Up”

Stolen Goblin Bride by Emma Hamm

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Pages: 118

Series: Stolen Brides of the Fae, Book 1

Genres: Fantasy; Romance; Fae; New Adult; Young Adult; Fairy Tales

Publication date: May 7, 2021

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When a mortal girl steals a necklace from a Goblin, there will be a price to pay…

Esther knows the rules. Don’t talk to the goblins. Don’t look at the goblins. Above all else, don’t buy or trade with the goblins.

Then, one day before market, she sees a young rat faced boy selling a necklace that looks eerily like her mother’s, what’s a young girl to do? Of course she tries to buy it, but he won’t sell it to her. So she steals it because it’s her mother’s necklace.

Lux knows the rules. He’s a jeweler and he can sell his wares to those who want to faithfully buy them. Something doesn’t feel right about selling this particular piece to the beautiful young woman who immediately steals his heart. So he doesn’t.

But when he realizes the mortal girl stole from him, he’s forced to enact magic that can’t be unwritten. Stealing from a goblin always has a price.

Stolen Brides of the Fae is a series of stand-alone short novels written by various romantic fantasy authors who share a passion for fantastical love stories.

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“There is no other way. I have to put a goblin curse on you, but the best I can do is give you time.”

“Time for what?”

His next uttered word sent a chill through her very bones. “To run, Esther of Woolwich. I can only give you time to run.”

Chapter Two

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I enjoyed this story for its slow (for a short story, at least) romance. It’s not love at first sight or best friends to lovers. It’s two people finding themselves in a situation and realizing they can make it work for them if they want to.

Esther grew up knowing that the fae were dangerous and that she should avoid the goblin market. But that doesn’t mean she can stop herself from being drawn to its magnetic pull. Yet even still, Esther wasn’t wholly prepared for what her encounter with the goblins would bring.

This was a cute romance, and I adored this introduction to the series. While these stories can certainly be read in any order as they’re standalone stories, I enjoyed reading the first story in the collection and letting it take me from there.

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Continue reading “Stolen Goblin Bride by Emma Hamm”

Bluebeard and the Outlaw by Tara Grayce

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Pages: 190

Series: A Villain’s Ever After, Book 3

Genres: Fantasy; Retelling; Romance; Fairy Tales; Young Adult; Novella

Publication date: August 27th, 2021

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Marriage: the ultimate heist.

Robin of the Wood spends her days robbing from the rich to feed the poor. But she and her merry band of brothers never seem to get anywhere. The more she steals, the more the evil Lord Guy “Bluebeard” taxes the villagers.

When Robin discovers that Lord Guy plans to marry yet again, she conceives a plan for a final, big score. As Guy’s wife, she will have access to his wealth. The lord is notorious for killing his wives shortly after he marries them, but Robin has no plans to be dead wife number four.

The only problem is that Lord Guy is devastatingly handsome, brooding, and nothing at all what she expected. If she isn’t careful, she might just find that he steals her heart before she can rob his riches.

Bluebeard and the Outlaw is one of twelve short novels in A Villain’s Ever After, a collection of stand-alone stories featuring villainous twists on some of your favorite classic fairy tales. Read the series in any order for magical adventures . . . and fall in love with villains as you’ve never seen them before. Who said villains can’t have happily-ever-afters?

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Perhaps you have heard the tale of the blue-bearded man and his murdered wives. Maybe you’ve wondered how a girl could be so foolish as to marry him. She must have been forced, you say. Or incredibly desperate.

Well, dear reader, I married him. But the legends don’t tell the whole story. I might have been a fool. But I was the most reckless kind of fool, who believes she is a daring hero with legends of her own to make.

Chapter One

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I really enjoyed reading this story. I’ve noticed recently that I’m enjoying series of novellas by multiple authors more and more – A Villain’s Ever After being no exception. I love the way it introduces me to different worlds, different characters, different writing styles. It also helps me discover authors that I might not otherwise have stumbled across.

In fact, that’s the way I stumbled across Grayce’s works. Not through this story, like I thought going into this read, but through a different collection of novellas by multiple authors. While I thought “man, this writing style seems really familiar” multiple times while reading this story, it wasn’t until close to the very end that I realized exactly why this writing felt familiar. And that’s because I’d read Stolen Midsummer Bride back in July (review here).

In case it hasn’t been made obvious at this point, or if you’re new here, I truly love a good retelling. More often than not, I’ll look for a new retelling when I’m looking to pick up a story from a new author. That way I might not know how the writing style will be, but I’ll know what to expect from the story. Plus it gives me a chance to experience characters I know and love, even if their characteristics and temperaments might be different from usual.

Both the tale of Robinhood and the tale of Bluebeard aren’t tales that I’ve read many retellings for, so it was quite the treat to pick up this story that deals with both of them. I went into this story knowing the basic traits of both of these story, but not much more. And I was thrilled with what I managed to find.

Bluebeard and Robinhood are names that are pretty well known. Their stories are all but legend, their strengths and weaknesses known by the masses. But what if they were to tell the story themselves? What if you got to understand both sides of the coin, rather than just hear about the story from the victor? Sure these tales are often told as solo stories, but I adored the way the two tales were woven into each other. The way both parties can be considered the villain in the other’s tale.

This story shows me that I adore Grayce’s writing style and need to read more from her. Having stumbled across her writing twice now, there is no doubt in my mind that I’m going to enjoy her writing in her other works. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I picked up her writing in the near future to read more from her….

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Continue reading “Bluebeard and the Outlaw by Tara Grayce”

August 2021 Wrap Up

This month was a lot of things behind the scenes for me, not all of them good. Because of that, this is going to be an incredibly short post. In fact, it’s going to cover a single book. You see, I didn’t have a lot of spare time – or mental space – to dedicate to reading. So, here’s that one book that I managed to finish in August.

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But first, obligatory pictures of Yzma:

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**For reference: Physical books, eBooks, AudioBooks, Kindle Unlimited, and Library Books**

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Total titles completed: 1

Total pages read: 280 pages

Average rating: 3.5 stars (but not really because it was just one book)


Completed Book:

  1. Archangel Errant by Elizabeth Corrigan (Earthbound Angels, Book 3)[3.5 stars] 280 pages

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Wrap Up:

Archangel Errant by Elizabeth Corrigan:

Gabriel didn’t expect his return to Heaven to be filled with trumpets and celebration, but he thought he would do more than sit at Michael’s side, listening to endless catalogs of unfulfilled prayers. He’s tried blending into every aspect of Heavenly life, but he can’t help but feel that the constantly praying Faithful and flower-dispensing Handmaidens lack the motivation to do any true good in the world. Some days, he longs for nothing more than to return to Earth and tell his beloved Cassia how he feels about her.

When Heaven is suddenly attacked, all the angels become trapped in their own nightmares. With Michael gone on an angelic mission, Gabriel must rally the remaining seraphim to rouse the sleeping angels and discover who seeks to take the agents of Heaven out of the celestial battle. All fingers point to Bedlam, but Gabriel can’t believe the ex-demon would threaten his salvation so soon after gaining it.

With few people he trusts, Gabriel must rely on all the lessons he learned on Earth to save Heaven, Bedlam, and maybe even himself.

I truly enjoy this series. Every second I spend in this world is another second spent with characters that feel real in a world that feel like it’s taking shape around me me. Michael has a lot on his shoulders, but he’s finally starting to realize that maybe – just maybe – there are others around him that might be able to help.

Gabriel might have been missing for a couple of years – okay, more than a few – but his return to Heaven isn’t everything he expects it to be. Trying to find your purpose away from those you’ve been trying your entire existence to save can’t be easy. But he’s willing to try. And that’s more than a lot of other beings are willing to do.

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That’s it, that’s the entire post. I told you I didn’t get a lot of reading done in August. Thankfully, I got a little bit more done as the year came to a close.

This month was a hard one, behind the scenes. A lot of life changes happened, and my reading took a hit. But that’s okay. Life takes precedence sometimes.

Stolen Midsummer Bride by Tara Grayce

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pages: 193

Series: Stolen Brides of the Fae, Book 3

Genres: Fantasy; Romance; Fae; New Adult; Retelling; Fairy Tales

Publication date: May 21, 2021

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Steal a bride. Save the library. Try not to die.

Basil, a rather scholarly fae, works as an assistant librarian at the Great Library of the Court of Knowledge. Lonely and unwilling to join the yearly Midsummer Revel to find a mate, Basil takes the advice of his talking horse companion and decides to steal a human bride instead.

But Basil never expected to find a human girl waiting for him, wanting to get snatched. Nor had he expected a girl like Meg, an illiterate farmgirl who has no use for books.

With the barrier with the Realm of Monsters wearing thin and the chaos of Midsummer Night about to descend, will this unlikely pair put aside their differences long enough to save the Great Library from destruction? And maybe find a spark of love along the way.

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“Today, Lysander suggested I steal a human bride. Can you believe it?” Basil shook his head, staring at the ceiling. Why was he struggling to laugh the thought away? He should not find it intriguing.

“Actually, it isn’t a bad idea.” Buddy bobbed his head. “Get yourself a nice girl. Someone who can help you in the Great Library and provide a buffer from the antics of the Foolish Four. Besides, stealing a bride would raise your status, you know. Most fae take the easy route of joining the Revel or arranging a marriage nowadays. Your fellow librarians will be impressed if you steal a bride.”

Chapter 3

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In case I haven’t already said it, this was a fun read. Meg gave up a lot to try and protect her family. She didn’t know what she was getting herself into, but she was willing to do it for her siblings. Basil had his heart broken in the past and never expected to find love again. Desperate times call for desperate measures and a stolen bride – right?

This story contained so much of what I love – libraries, the fae, fighting monsters, and saving the day. (I apologize for that but I’m not taking it back.) Meg and Basil might not have expected each other, but both knew what they’d need to survive and protect what they hold dear. The fae realm is twisted, the courts not always getting along or playing by the rules. It takes someone strong of heart and mind to be able to navigate the courts and not lose themself in the process.

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Continue reading “Stolen Midsummer Bride by Tara Grayce”

Perfectly Played by Holly Kerr

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Pages: 370

Goodreads: Perfectly Played

Genre: Romance; Contemporary; Sports; Women’s Fiction; Adult

Publication date: April 30, 2019

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Flower shop owner Flora waited years to get married but when it came down to the moment of reckoning, it all felt wrong. No flowers, no patient groom… no perfect love story waiting for her. And so she pulled up her wedding dress and ran out of the chapel—straight into the sweetest, saddest, tallest guy she’d ever seen.

Ex-ball player Dean thought a wedding was expected until an icy cold text to his best man let him know it wasn’t going to happen. Ever. Now there’s nothing to do but spend a few hours commiserating with the cute bride who ran out of her own wedding.

It is Las Vegas, after all.

One perfect night later, with strippers and syrup and drag queens, Flora and Dean go home alone, forgetting about last names and usernames and even old-school addresses. Maybe they can find love again, but not if they can’t find each other.

But love plays its own game, and the best happily ever afters always have a bit of serendipity involved. Will Flora and Dean’s love story be perfectly played?

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“Why don’t you meet us after the show is over?” Clay suggests.

My stomach feels like it’d been thrown a life preserver, popping back up to the surface.

“Really?” M.K.’s face lights up.

“Sure. You’ll only be a couple of hours and we can get something to eat in the meantime.” Clay smiles at M.K. “We can meet you at what – eleven?”

Dean looks at me for agreement but I don’t know what to say. “I’m sorry I touched your beard earlier,” I blurt.

“I’m not,” he says.

“Make it midnight,” Ruthie says. “And find another friend for me.”

Chapter Three

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This was a very cute story. I found myself flying through it and smiling at Flora and Dean’s antics. Sure there was some heavy miscommunication at times, but that’s what makes characters feel real. No love story is perfect from beginning to end, so it’s nice to have a touch of realism from time to time.

Being a Blue Jays girl myself, I adored the moments where baseball and the jays were brought up. It was a cute read and I look forward to reading more about this world.

This romance read is a little softer than what I typically find myself leaning towards, but I enjoyed my time in this world. Heck, I’ve found myself thinking about the secondary relationship between Clay and M.K. enough since I finished this story. Kerr must have done something right to have me wanting more – more of these characters, more of this world, and more of her writing.

Trigger warning: This story contains cases of emotional abuse. If you are not comfortable reading about this topic, this book is not the one for you.

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Continue reading “Perfectly Played by Holly Kerr”

July 2021 Wrap Up

Okay, so I’ve just come back and am already starting to fall behind… whoops, my bad! I didn’t realize how disorganized I’d gotten behind the scenes, as well. This post took me longer than usual to pull together because I apparently didn’t care about my own sanity and didn’t write in my planner at all this month.

Sure I had an amazing camping trip, and yes I found time to read during the month.

But by not writing anything down I forced myself to have to sift through all my books – physical, eBooks, AudioBooks – along with my library history to try and remember what I’d read when. I could more or less put together the timeline based on notes (especially date stamped eBook notes) and where I remember reading the stories.

All that means that this might not be as complete a list as it should be. My bad. Here’s hoping I remembered everything I read in the month of July.

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Obligatory pictures of Yzma:

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Or, check out my BookStagram account @PhantomOfTheLibrary1995 (which I will definitely be posting to as soon as I finish this dang move):

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Without further ado, here are my reading stats for June 2021:


**For reference: Physical bookseBooksAudioBooks, Kindle Unlimited, and Library Books**

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Total titles completed: 21

Total pages read: 5705 pages (avg. 272 pages)

Average rating: 2.9 stars


Completed Books:

  1. Dark, Witch & Creamy by H.Y. Hanna (Bewitched by Chocolate, Book 1)[2 stars] 464 pages
  2. Witch Chocolate Fudge by H.Y Hanna (Bewitched by Chocolate, Book 2)[2 stars] 266 pages
  3. Witch Summer Night’s Cream by H.Y Hanna (Bewitched by Chocolate, Book 3)[2 stars] 465 pages
  4. Blood, Sweets and Tears by H.Y Hanna (Bewitched by Chocolate, Book 4)[2 stars] 282 pages
  5. Bonbons and Broomsticks by H.Y Hanna (Bewitched by Chocolate, Book 5)[2.5 stars] 272 pages
  6. Double, Double, Toil and Truffle by H.Y Hanna (Bewitched by Chocolate, Book 6)[2.5 stars] 358 pages
  7. Salted Caramel Sorcery by H. Y. Hanna (Bewitched by Chocolate, Book 7)[3 stars] 394 pages
  8. Stolen Goblin Bride by Emma Hamm (Stolen Brides of the Fae, Book 1)[3 stars] 118 pages
  9. Stolen Mage Bride by Sylvia Mercedes (Stolen Brides of the Fae, Book 2)[2.5 stars] 170 pages
  10. Stolen Midsummer Bride by Tara Grayce (Stolen Brides of the Fae, Book 3)[4 stars] 193 pages
  11. Stolen Shadow Bride by S.M. Gaither (Stolen Brides of the Fae, Book 4)[3 stars] 183 pages
  12. Stolen Ice Bride by Angela J. Ford (Stolen Brides of the Fae, Book 5)[3 stars] 110 pages
  13. Stolen Threadwitch Bride by Clare Sager (Stolen Brides of the Fae, Book 6)[3.5 stars] 238 pages
  14. Stolen Thorn Bride by Kenley Davidson (Stolen Brides of the Fae, Book 7)[4 stars] 224 pages
  15. Stolen Mayfly Bride by Sarah K.L. Wilson (Stolen Brides of the Fae, Book 8)[4.5 stars] 105 pages
  16. Soulbound by Bethany Adams (Return of the Elves, Book 1)[2.5 stars] 255 pages
  17. Witch’s Bell 1 by Odette C. Bell (Witch’s Bell, Book 1)[3.5 stars] 324 pages
  18. The Royal Companion by Tanya Bird (The Companion, Book 1)[4 stars] 320 pages
  19. The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke (The Assassin’s Curse, Book 1)[3 stars] 298 pages
  20. The Palace of Lost Memories by C.J. Archer (After the Rift, Book 1)[4.5 stars] 262 pages
  21. The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella (Goodreads)[3 stars] 404 pages

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Continue reading “July 2021 Wrap Up”

A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pages: 408

Series: Something Strange and Deadly, Book 2

Genres: Young Adult, Steampunk, Zombies, Paranormal, Historical Fiction, Romance, Horror, Supernatural

Publication date: July 23rd, 2013

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With her brother dead and her mother insane, Eleanor Fitt is alone. Even the Spirit-Hunters—Joseph, Jie, and the handsome Daniel—have fled to Paris. So when Eleanor hears the vicious barking of hounds and sees haunting yellow eyes, she fears that the Dead, and the necromancer Marcus, are after her.

To escape, Eleanor boards a steamer bound for France. There she meets Oliver, a young man who claims to have known her brother. But Oliver harbors a dangerous secret involving necromancy and black magic that entices Eleanor beyond words. If she can resist him, she’ll be fine. But when she arrives in Paris, she finds that the Dead have taken over, and there’s a whole new evil lurking. And she is forced to make a deadly decision that will go against everything the Spirit-Hunters stand for.

In Paris, there’s a price for this darkness strange and lovely, and it may have Eleanor paying with her life.

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When Jie’s letter came in the mail, I was so elated I forgot I had no hand.

“Oh, thank heavens!” I cried, reaching for the battered envelope in the postman’s grasp. “I’ve been waiting for this for over a…” I trailed off. My eyes locked on the postman’s horrified dace – and his eyes locked on my wrist.

Yet it was not the poor quality of my gray gown’s lace sleeve that prompted his expression but rather the bandaged stump poking out from beneath.

I yanked back my wrist, and the postman’s face erupted in red. “P-pardon me, Miss.” He thrust the letter at me.

“Of course,” I squeaked, snatching the letter with my left hand. Then I bolted from the post office into the Philadelphia morning.

Chapter One

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I’m shocked that it took me as long as it did to read this story. I absolutely adored the first book in this series and was certain I’d pick the next one up almost right away. Yet it was almost a year later that I ended up picking this story up.

Dennard does an amazing job at making her characters feel real, of making the world jump off the page and come to life. This story takes place primarily in Paris, which is a huge shift from the first book. And Dennard does an absolutely fantastic job of making it feel like I’ve stumbled my way into Paris. I applaud her ability to make any setting feel like real life.

I also really enjoy the way Dennard continues to tease out the mechanics of the magic and necromancy of this world. Eleanor didn’t know anything about these things before this story began and I, for one, enjoy getting to learn about the world along with her. Of course it leads to mistake after mistake – many of which could have been avoided if only she had a little more care and caution – but that just makes the read even more enjoyable.

It seems that the further Eleanor goes into this darker side of her world, the less of the original, naïve girl she used to be exists. Of course that’s at least partially a good thing. There’s no way she would have survived the events in the first book if she hadn’t given up at least some of her naivety. Yet some of the decision she makes in the story show that she gave up more of herself than she might have meant to.

While I can enjoy a romance heavy story just as much as anyone, I liked the fact that this story was more personal character growth driven than romance based. Every moment between Eleanor and Daniel remains precious to me – and I would have love more of the two of them together – but this story wouldn’t have been the same if it had a heavier romance element to it.

Eleanor is discovering who she is as an individual – something society didn’t want her to ever find. Not to mention the fact that she’s tryin to understand the world that her brother had secretly been living in. Eleanor might not have liked what her brother was doing, but that doesn’t stop her from wanting the power and control for herself. Now she’s just got to try and remain herself – her true self – as she struggles to find balance.

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Continue reading “A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard”

February 2022 TBR

Goooood morning/after/evening/whatever time it is when you read this. As an effort to keep on track of things, which I’ve clearly been failing at already, I’m going to keep this post short and straight to the point.

I don’t have many plans this month aside from finishing my move, so without further ado here are the books I hope to get to in the month of February.

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**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: 7


Books to Read:

  1. This Fallen Prey by Kelley Armstrong ((Rockton, Book 3) 359 Pages
  2. Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong (Rockton, Book 4) 368 Pages
  3. The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White (Camelot Rising, Book 1) 352 Pages
  4. For Steam and Country by Jon Del Arroz (Adventures of Baron Von Monocle, Book 1) 279 Pages
  5. Bluebeard and the Outlaw by Tara Grayce (A Villain’s Ever After, Book 3) 190 pages
  6. The Beast and the Enchantress by Camille Peters (A Villain’s Ever After, Book 1) 198 pages
  7. Lore by Alexandra Bracken (Goodreads) 480 pages

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Continue reading “February 2022 TBR”

January 2022 Wrap Up

My posts might be all over the place, but at least this one is coming out at the right time! (I swear I’m going to be making way more of an effort going forward…)

This month has been crazy, I’m not going to lie. I honestly forgot how much work moving is. So far I’ve only had to deal with physically moving my own stuff, even when I’ve moved with other people. This past weekend I had to move my stuff, Yzma’s stuff, and help the people I was moving with. Suffice it to say I’m a little tired as I write this post (and maybe a little loopy from lack of sleep.)

That being said, I still managed to get a decent amount read this month. Let’s be honest, that’s what you’re here for not my ramblings.

As always, here are some pictures of Yzma:

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And here’s my Bookstagram account that I’ll finally be posting to…. as soon as I’m finished unpacking! @PhantomOfTheLibrary1995

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Without further ado, here are my reading stats for January 2022:

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**For reference: Physical books, eBooks, AudioBooks, Kindle Unlimited, and Library Books**

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Total books completed: 10

Total pages read: 3659 (avg. 366 pages)

Average rating: 3.65 stars


Completed Books:

  1. An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson (Goodreads)[3.75 stars] 300 pages
  2. High Jinx by Kelley Armstrong (Cursed Luck, Book 2)[5 stars] 349 Pages
  3. Perfectly Played by Holly Kerr (Goodreads)[3 stars] 370 Pages
  4. Evershade by Michelle Areaux (The Shifter Chronicles, Book 1)[0 stars] 209 Pages
  5.  Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson (Goodreads)[4.5 stars] 456 Pages
  6. City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong (Rockton, Book 1)[5 stars] 471 Pages
  7. Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall (Boyfriend Material, Book 1)[3.75 stars] 427 pages
  8. A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong (Rockton, Book 2)[4.5 stars] 416 Pages
  9. Forcing You Away by Kennedy Fox (Archer & Everleigh, Book 1)[3 stars] 250 pages
  10. Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody (The Shadow Game, Book 1)[4 stars] 411 pages

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Review Posts:

  1. An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
  2. Ellipsis by Kristy McGinnis

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Continue reading “January 2022 Wrap Up”