Thursday, February 14, 2019

Cover Attraction: Romance Novels

So like usual, I couldn't decide what romance book to feature on the coveted Valentine's Day; so I decided not to feature one book over the rest.  Instead I thought it would be fun to have a chat about what cover features attract me to romance novels.  As we all know, 'never judge a book by the cover' but admit it, we all are attracted by the cover.  It is often us reader's first impression. That color or font that attracts us from across the room, draws the eye in the bookstore or library, or when scrolling the endless pages of books online.  Today I wanted to talk about what makes me stop and pick up different romance books.  We also know that romance books have had some not so great cover choices in the past, but they have certainly come a long way. 

There are several things that will make me pick a book to read more (or if I am in a rush or on a shopping spree just pick it up without knowing anything), but first let's talk about the title and font.  I prefer romance books with a catchy title, or a play on words but prefer that it not be super outright with words like 'Love' or 'Heat' in the title. A couple of my favorite titles are . . .
They are fun and quirky but clearly give the romance vibe (I highly recommend checking out the titles of the Maple Leaf Series, there are a lot of fun ones in it). 

As far as font, I like when the title (and author) blend into the cover image a bit, not overly bold or bright, I also prefer the font not to be overly embellished (unless of course the title is a little risque on its own, then embellish like crazy so it is not easily seen from a distance when I am waiting in the school pick up line at my son's Catholic school!).  I love the style of these titles . . .

Now shall we talk about the main event?! The image itself, which of course often features the hero and heroine. Poor romance got a bit of a bad rap for the slightly tacky covers, not saying that any of those books are bad, I have certainly loved several but honestly not the type of cover I want on my shelves or to read in public places. You know the ones I mean . . .
(note these are all on my bookshelves still) Some of you might like that they make their subject matter very clear.  And I am okay with hero and heroine's gracing my covers, but I just prefer a little more subtly. I admit that a shirtless hunk is perfectly fine for me, but I prefer back and shoulder's to be shown like on 

Tattoos are a definite plus for me. Also, shirts don't need to be missing for it to catch my eye . . .


Give me a cowboy and the deal is signed . . 


or add a dog to the cover and I will pick it up every time . . .


(I haven't run into any with a kitten yet, but better believe I will buy it no questions asked). We don't always need the hero either, I particularly like seeing my strong leading ladies on the covers looking as badass as they should be . . .


or if it is historical, I love to see the dresses like . . 

Another option that I like is to give me an idea of the setting or set the mood for the book, some of my favorites are from Debbie Macomber


So those are the elements that catch my eye with romance books.  Do any of these same features attract your attention? What do you look for in your romance covers?

If you liked this post let me know and I will continue with a series of cover attraction posts ;)

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Top 5 Wednesday: Independent Ladies

Top 5 Wednesday is a group on Goodreads hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes on Youtube.

This week's topic is all about those Ladies that don't let romance get in their way. They have plans and will see them through to the end with or without a loved one by their side.  

I am super excited about this topic, I am often drawn to books with strong leading ladies, though they are often romance books and they end up needing the help of the love interest.  There are a few that come to mind though that continue with their plans no matter what the love interest thinks and sometimes with their support.

Admittedly it has been a very, very long time since I last read Sabriel, but I do recall there being a prince involved but Sabriel had a job to do and didn't let him or anything else distract her.

In the very first book of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles we discover Cimerone who wants nothing to do with being a princess or marrying a knight or prince so she takes matters into her own hands.  Again it has been ages since I last read this series and I do believe a bit of romance blooms in later books but Cimerone remains a strong willed, independent lady.

Yes this is a romance book, but hear me out, you need to read the whole series to get a full grasp of Rosamund's independence. She sees to it that all of her children have had a chance to grow up in her home and have the future they wish to have before she allows herself to be swept away by the love interest. She runs her estate and makes it prosperous nearly on her own and raises her daughters to be strong women as well.

No one can deny that Leia is THE example of an independent lady, she has all the confidence, determination and skills necessary to get the job done and while she has a love interest, she doesn't allow him to take control or influence her goals.

Are you sick of hearing about the And I Darken Series from me yet?! No worries there will be more to come because everyone hasn't read this series yet (I know I don't understand why either). Lada is the ultimate independent woman, nothing will stop her from regaining her country, her first love, not her gender, her distance, her friends or lover. 

So who are some of your favorite independent ladies? Do you agree with some of mine?

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Review of Uprooted and Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

I have been trying to figure out a way to share all these books I read with you but still include other non-review posts on the blog.  One method I have come up with was to share the reviews for an entire series (or pair) of books in one post.  I will do my absolute best to keep spoilers out of these posts in case you plan to read the books, but there is a slight chance that even the synopsis of a book can give away the result of the previous book. So if you don't want to know anything at all about the later books in a series that might giveaway something in the first book STOP READING NOW!

So I understand that these aren't technically a series, and honestly they aren't even really companion novels, but I was led to believe that so I read them together.  To save time I thought I would just put the reviews in the same post.  

 Synopsis: "“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose."

My Review: I have heard so many rave about this book so I requested the audio book from the library, unfortunately it came in after Spinning Silver. While others have said they prefer this one to Spinning Silver, I have a different opinion. I really enjoyed the beginning and the end of this book but the middle was just so slow and tedious for me. For a nearly 18 hour audio book, I enjoyed the first 6 hours and the final 4-5 hours, leaving 7-8 hours of lack luster story for me. I very nearly DNFed it several times. The Beauty and the Beast elements that were promised were extremely subtle. I did enjoy the relationship between Sarkan and Agnieska, they way it developed and the original intention behind it were great elements to the story. I honestly might have preferred to have the story told from the Dragon's perspective. The whole middle with the Castle and tracking the Wood down, were just filler to me, they didn't really add much to the story other than continuing throwing road blocks up. It is leaning toward dark fantasy but it just doesn't go far enough for me to like it for that element, it has a fairy tale feel but not enough for me to like it for that and there is a touch of romance but again not enough for me to love it for that. It really was a middle of the road book for me.

My Rating: I so wanted to like this one, so many have loved it but it just was a little to blah through most of the book for me.  I think if I had read it first and not had the feel of the intricacies of Spinning Silver in mind, maybe I would have appreciated it more.  I give it a rating of Two Paws.


"Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders... but her father isn't a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife's dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty--until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers' pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed--and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.
But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it's worth--especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand."

My Review: I was originally intrigued by this story because we don't often see Rumplestiltskin re-tellings and I thought it would be fun to try. I have not read Uprooted yet so was a little nervous going into this one even though they are companion novels and not a sequel. It was a bit of a slow to start book but I really enjoyed the build up of the story. I absolutely loved Miryem's character, her tough no-nonsense personality really resonated with me, with the addition of Wanda's perspective we get more of that hard working/ get the job done personality. I understand how many readers became overwhelmed with all the perspectives in this book as they are introduced throughout the book, with little or no warning. It is particularly difficult with the audio book as there is no break to show the shift in viewpoint, in the print version at least there are little symbols indicating the change in perspective. I really enjoyed how the idea of the villain shifted based on the perspective you viewed them from. I really enjoyed this book, it was so atmospheric and a perfect read to enjoy during the cold winter days!

My Rating: I was completely absorbed by this story, I fell in love with the characters and the intricate plot line where everyone had a role to play. I give this one a rating of Four Paws!


Overall Thoughts: I have heard great reviews of both of these books, I have also heard a lot of complaints about Spinning Silver having too many POVs and people who loved Uprooted not loving Spinning Silver.  Well I had put in library audio book holds on both of these way back in October (and they finally became available in January - too long to wait in my opinion).  Spinning Silver became available first so with only a limited time I decided to listen to it right away.  I admit that the multiple POVs was a little difficult to follow at times, there was no clear sign that we were changing in the audio book, but the print book does have symbols and page breaks when changing.  I did love the intricate story and the details it took to develop.  I then picked up Uprooted and was a little disappointed since it seemed that it was the more favored book. I loved the relationship between the Dragon and Agnieszka and really want more of it.  I found that the middle of the book dragged a lot and it may have benefited from an additional POV.  I have to say that I really preferred Spinning Silver.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Monday Reading List

It is Monday again, and time to update with what I read last week, what I am currently reading and what to look forward to next week.

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Links will take you to my review

Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett
Who in the World is Carmen Sandiego? by Rebecca Tinker
Princess Puffybottom . . . and Darryl by Susin Nielson (Bedtime Story)

 Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

Amber & Dusk - DNF 10%
Princess Puffybottom and Darryl
The Theif
The Queen of Attolia

Currently Reading:
Warlord by Elizabeth Vaughan - Print - on page 65 of 336
Love That Dog by Sharon Creech - Print - on page 30 of 112

Pages Read/ Time Listened
97:02 Hours Listened (34:58 listened this week)
3,370 Pages Read (387 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
Dragon of Ash & Stars
The Snow Gypsy
Book Nerds & Boyfriends

Wow, what a reading week last week! I have really been enjoying audio books lately with all the cleaning I have been doing and the cards I have been making.  I have put in an application for my first craft bazaar and need to really build up inventory in the next few months so I will mostly be listening to audio books.  Thankfully I have discovered the Queen's Thief series; how come no one mentioned this series to me?! It is so engrossing! Anyway, we didn't make it to the bookstore this weekend, Munchkin if fighting a cold and is pretty emotional, but I am okay with that, I have plenty of books to read at home.  Since I am trying so hard not to add to my insane TBR pile it is a good thing we didn't go.

This week will consist of a lot more card making and audio books! Hopefully I can finish up the released books of the Queen's Thief series and be ready for the release of the final book!

What are your reading? Any underrated books catch your eye recently?