Saturday, May 2, 2020

Date Night with a Book: Starbreaker by Amanda Bouchet

Date Night with a book is the new After Dark series of posts on my blog, books posted for Date Nights contain Adult  Romance themes and scenes. From now on I will keep my reviews of all books I read that have explicit scenes in them for Date Night posts for those of you who prefer to avoid them or easy to find for those of you who seek them out ;)

Read for: Anticipated Release/ Netgalley/ Requested Review


Captain Tess Bailey and Shade Ganavan are still the galaxy's Most Wanted, and with revolution in the wind and the universe on the brink of catastrophic war, the situation couldn't be more desperate. Despite the Dark Watch scouring the known sectors for them, rebel leaders have handed the crew of the Endeavor a delicate and dangerous mission: break into Starbase 12 and free renowned scientist Reena Ahern. She's the only one who stands a chance of tipping the odds in their favor for the first time in decades.


The clock is ticking. But as their attraction builds and secrets are revealed, Tess and Shade must decide if they trust each other enough to execute this impossible prison break. They could change the course of history, but they'll be risking everything... They'll just have to tackle one crisis at a time."

My Review:  It has been quite a while since I read Nightchaser, and I kind of wish I had taken the time for a re-read before starting this book. It took me quite a while to reacquaint myself with the characters and the vast universe. Once I did get back into the story though, I loved how the romance was a part of the story but not overtaking it, also the romantic breaks seemed natural, not the 'let's have sexy time in the middle of this crisis even though it seems super out of place'. On that thread, I also really appreciated both Tess and Shade's insecurities and pitfalls, it wasn't all soulmate, smooth sailing. There was a lot to this story besides the romance, and it took a lot longer to read than I had expected it to, but it was worth it. We got a lot more side characters and more story lines than in the previous book. We get to see more of the backstory and the political systems. This book turned this series into a real adventure rather than a romance. The ending is definitely left wide open for another book but I still felt satisfied with how this one turned out.

My Rating: I was a bit tentative about this book, but Amanda Bouchet is one of my auto buy authors.  She did not disappoint me with this book, even though it took me a while to get into it. I would recommend reading the first one and this one pretty close together.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

I received a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley, the above is my honest review and opinion.

You can find out more about Amanda Bouchet and her books on her Goodreads Page and Website

Starbreaker was just release on April 28th, so you can now obtain your own copy in print or digital format from Amazon, Barnes and Noble or request it at your local bookstore or library.

Friday, May 1, 2020

April 2020 Wrap Up & May TBR

All in all this turned out to be a much better reading month than I expected.  Once I figured out a new routine and managed to start being able to listen to audio books while working at home, the books started adding up.  I thoroughly enjoyed nearly every book I read this month.  I have a bunch more books that I wanted to get to but things are looking up in the book world for me.

First and foremost is my only actual challenge for the  year . . .

TBR Books from the Past 3 Years:
I read 4 books off the TBR list from the last 3 years, again, not as many as I wanted to read but I am just happy to be making progress.


I also read 1 book off my older TBR (not included in the last 3 years of hauls):

2020 Books added to TBR & Read:
Since I am also limiting my book purchases this year and trying to keep up with reading them, I figured I better add a section to show you the new additions I have read.
I also DNFed George and Lizzie

April Additions:
It has been a fine balance this month between trying to support my local bookstores and not going way overboard on my book purchases.  To balance this out, I have been purchasing books I have already read and wanted to add to my collection (I have left these books off the list to keep things shorter).  But I did pick up some new books this month.

In other reading I am tracking this year, I read . . .

4. All Systems Red
5. Artificial Condition
6. Rogue Protocol 

Borrowed Books:

Books Over 500 Pages:

Requested Reviews:
Rascal (Netgalley)
Race the Sands (Netgalley)
Love's Recipe (Netgalley)
Starbreaker (Netgalley)
Home (Pump Up Your Book)
Alya and the Three Cats (Netgalley)
Ronan and the Mermaid (Netgalley)

January Reading Stats:
I read a total of 22 books this month
2,398 pages read and 4 days, 6 hours and 36 minute of listening

Resolutions Check in:
1. Read that TBR: I don't think my goal of 8-9 books from my TBR was really reasonable for this year, I am definitely averaging 4-6 and I think that is okay, I may just have to reduce my expectations - :(
2. Purchase Less Books:While I didn't quite stick to my one book a week goal, I did purchase less books than I have in past years and way less than last month (next month however has a lot of big releases coming up!) - CHECK
3. Read Big Books: I did manage to read one book over 500 pages, it was a review book and not one off my TBR shelf but it still counts. - CHECK 
4. Interact: I have been insanely busy this last month so haven't had much time on line between teaching my son and working full time, so I am giving myself a pass until life gets back to a normal scheduled- :/ 


I have a hefty TBR for May, not only are there a ton of new releases, but there are also 3 readathons coming up and Children's Book Week! I will have separate TBRs for the readathons but here are the books that I want to read outside of those events this month.

For TBR List
Summer Retreat
The One and Only Bob
Uncommon Type
Queen's Peril
The Betrothed
The Girl and the Stars
Network Effect

How is everyone doing? Are you escaping into books or having a hard time fitting it into your new schedules?

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Review of White Rose by Kip Wilson (Poetry Month)

Read for: Recommended/ Recently Added/ Poetry Month

Synopsis: "A gorgeous and timely novel based on the incredible story of Sophie Scholl, a young German college student who challenged the Nazi regime during World War II as part of The White Rose, a non-violent resistance group.

Disillusioned by the propaganda of Nazi Germany, Sophie Scholl, her brother, and his fellow soldiers formed the White Rose, a group that wrote and distributed anonymous letters criticizing the Nazi regime and calling for action from their fellow German citizens. The following year, Sophie and her brother were arrested for treason and interrogated for information about their collaborators."

My Review: This book came highly recommended and it definitely deserves all the praise. I really love the characters/little known historical figures. Having read a lot of WWII books, I had yet to read a book from this particular perspective. You do get to see a bit of the progression of each of their points of view as the war continues and encroaches on the life they knew, but you don't get the full story until the end and I would have liked to seen more of it. This was beautifully written and eye opening, I definitely want to know more about these courageous individuals. This is definitely a book worth checking out and being as the format is in verse, it is fairly easy to read and approachable for all readers.

My Rating: I have read a lot of WWII historical fictions but had never come across one quite like this, it was an awe inspiring story of true characters in history.  The poetry was beautifully done and really added an element to this story.  I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Recent DNF Books

I talk a lot about the books I read on here, but I thought it was about time that I discussed some of the books that I didn't make it all the way through.  In the past couple of years I have finally given myself permission to put down a book I am not enjoying and it has been so freeing. It allows me to focus on the books I am enjoying.  Some of the books I put down, I do plan to pick up again when I am in the proper mood or mindset, others I am completely done with when I put it down.  

Here are the books I have DNFed so far this year:

I decided at 60% to DNF this book. I had been so excited to read this book, the premise is intriguing and the cover is stunning but at over halfway through the audio book my library hold was due back. I could have gotten it again right away or read the hard cover copy I own but I found that I just wasn't that invested in the story and was only reading to finish. I did love the setting, even though the hierarchy of power and khans was a awfully confusing. I also enjoyed Khalaf's character, he is definitely a hero to fall for but Jinghau was just a little too doting and doe eyed for my liking. I also wanted more of the riddles but they are just glazed over as far as I read.

Sadly, I had to DNF this one a little over halfway through. I really struggled to connect with the characters and also found the world building, timeline and character development to be scattered and confusing. The pacing was also extremely slow, there was potential for it to pick up where I left off but when I had time to read and yet still was distracted after only focusing for about 10 pages after 2 weeks of reading, it was time to put it down. It felt a bit like an incomplete manuscript. Though it had great representation and good potential, it just wasn't the book for me at this time.

Sadly, I am DNFing this book, after getting nearly 70% of the way through it. I had borrowed the audio book from the library and was finding that I couldn't bring myself to listen to more than half an hour at a time. This book is more of 3 stories in one and the audio book was a bit confusing jumping between the stories. The narration was also so slow, even when listening to it at 2x the speed, that it was easy to lose track of what was happening and get distracted while listening. I think the writing is beautiful, flows beautifully but I think the story gets lost in the beautiful words. I many have also enjoyed this more as a print book (but the wait for the physical or ebook from the library is over 32 weeks), it may have made the transitions between the stories within the book smoother and I could have read at my own pace.

I picked this book up from the library because it made the Booktube SFF shortlist this year. I love the cover but found the book to be really confusing. I listened to the audio book but DNFed at about 50%. I think the idea is really intriguing but I have never been one who enjoyed time travel books where it is more than one jump in time. Some readers my love it but it just wasn't for me.

I have been really looking forward to this book since before it's release. I have been struggling to get through it and decided to DNF about 1/3 of the way through.  I really was not a fan of the main character, I believe she represents some kind of sensory disorder or something but I just found myself irritated with her when I wanted to just hear about the history of her kind. I am sure it would have been a great book if I had read it at a different time or when I was in a different state of mind but right now it just didn't work.

So there are all the books that I have DNFed so far this year, I may return to a couple of them at a later date, particularly Ten Thousand Doors of January, because I think I would really enjoy that one when it isn't in audio book. I am kind of proud of myself that many of those books were borrowed from the library, I am getting better about borrowing books that I am not 100% sure if I will enjoy, instead of purchasing them only to find out I don't enjoy them.

Do you DNF books? How long do you give a book before you put it down?

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Review of To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

Read for: Booktube SFF Shortlist/ Borrowed Books/ Audio Books

Synopsis: "In her new novella, Sunday Times best-selling author Becky Chambers imagines a future in which, instead of terraforming planets to sustain human life, explorers of the solar system instead transform themselves.

Ariadne is one such explorer. As an astronaut on an extrasolar research vessel, she and her fellow crewmates sleep between worlds and wake up each time with different features. Her experience is one of fluid body and stable mind and of a unique perspective on the passage of time. Back on Earth, society changes dramatically from decade to decade, as it always does.

Ariadne may awaken to find that support for space exploration back home has waned, or that her country of birth no longer exists, or that a cult has arisen around their cosmic findings, only to dissolve once more by the next waking. But the moods of Earth have little bearing on their mission: to explore, to study, and to send their learnings home.

Carrying all the trademarks of her other beloved works, including brilliant writing, fantastic world-building and exceptional, diverse characters, Becky's first audiobook outside of the Wayfarers series is sure to capture the imagination of listeners all over the world."

My Review: I am a tentative Sci-Fi reader, but I trust the folks who come up with the Booktube SFF shortlist so decided to give this one a shot. It was my first time reading a Becky Chambers book but it certainly won't be my last! I listened to the audio book from the library but will probably be adding it to my own shelves. It gave me a mix of Annihilation and Murderbot vibes and I was definitely into it. I love the exploration side of it and the mundane human acts that are daily survival. There is quite a twist at the end and it was great, though I would have liked a little more. For a quick novella book, it was very satisfying to read.

My Rating: This book definitely captured my attention right from the get-go and I am looking forward to trying more of Becky Chambers' books.  I definitely recommend it if you want to give space sci-fi a try, it was short and easy to relate to and read.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Monday, April 27, 2020

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

Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst
Rascal by Jean-Luc Delgin (Graphic Novel)
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur (Poetry Month)
The Alekizou and His Terrible Library Plot by Nancy Turgeon (Bedtime Story)
Love's Recipe by Mila Nicks (Date Night/ After Dark)

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

Welcome to Moonlight Harbor
Artificial Condition
Winter at the Beach
The Deep - DNF 30%

Currently Reading:

You Can't F*ck Up Your Kids by Lindsay Powers - Print - on page 43 of 320
Starbreaker by Amanda Bouchet - Ebook - on page 178 of 448

Pages Read/ Time Listened
331:44 Hours Listened (22:58 listened this week)
11,359 Pages Read (NONE this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
White Rose  - READ
Stealing Thunder (gift)
The Eyes of Tamburah (gift)
The Wolf in the Whale
~~~~~~~~~~March Birthday Waiver Books ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Rain Dragon Rescue
The Order of the Unicorn
The Book of Boy
All the Wandering Light
Life on the Leash
Phoenix Unbound
Magic Bites - READ
Fantasy Lover
Night Pleasures
The Midnight Lie
You Can't F*ck Up Your Kids  (gift)
Mary Shelley Monster Hunter Vol. 1
The Caged Queen
The Mum Who'd Had Enough
Ash and Quill
The Voyage to Magical North
I Needed a Viking
Smoke and Iron
The Overdue Life of Amy Byler
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~End Birthday Waiver~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Red Hood (gift)
The Worst Best Man
Scavenge the Stars
Hades & Persephone
Beachside Beginnings (gift)
Finding Forever
Uncommon Type
Red, White & Royal Blue
The Monster of Elendhaven
Sorcery of Thorns - READ


Once again, we are settling into this new normal, we found out that I am going to have to finish teaching Munchkin his final trimester of school. Yes it was expected, but looking at another 2 months of trying to teach and work, just isn't all that inspiring. I have also found myself having to work later and later into the night to get my office work done. but we are starting to find a bit of a routine, I teach Munchkin all morning, and after lunch he plays a bit while I get some office emails done, then we do some kind of activity together, and finally I put on my headphones and pound out as much work as possible in the afternoon and into the evening, Hubby cooks dinner and I finish up work about bedtime and then clean up the house after Munchkin heads to bed.  The amount of time available for reading is really hard to find but I am still finding it here and there, especially audio books.

I am trying to get better about pre-scheduling blog posts for when I get too busy at home to get them up, I did good with last week but still need to work on plans for this week and next week.  It is almost Children's Book Week!! We also have the Medievalathon, Bout of Books and Tome Topple readathons coming up this next month! Hopefully I will be able to find more time to read in the coming months.

I hope that you are all finding peace with your new normal as well.