Friday, January 29, 2021

February Anticipated Releases

  So I decided it is time I start doing an anticipated release post every month.  I feel like this will help me narrow down the books that I am super excited about and keep up with the books that are being released, especially with all the delays and changes that have been happening.  Anyway,  I thought I would break this down into categories, again to help myself, this time to keep my book buying under control. So how about we get started . . . .

Anticipated Releases Pre-Ordered:

I am allowing myself to pre-order only 4 new releases each month to help control my book buying habits.  So here are the 4 books I was most excited to add to my shelves this month.

Releases February 9th
This is the final book in the Seafire Trilogy and I am so excited for it. The first book is the one that kicked off my love for pirate books and these lady pirates are the best! I can't wait for this conclusion.

Synopsis: "In this epic conclusion to the Seafire trilogy, which Booklist called "Mad Max by way of Davy Jones," Caledonia Styx will risk everything--her heart, her crew, and even her life--to defeat Lir and take back the Bullet Seas once and for all.

Aric Athair is dead. But the fight for the Bullet Seas is far from over. Caledonia's nemesis, Lir--the one responsible for getting her parents killed and for turning her brother into a Bullet--has seized control of the warlord's army.

Caledonia and her crew have fled to Cloudbreak to prepare for an all-out war. And they are not the only ones. Defecting soldiers begin to show up in droves to join their fight. But just as it seems like the tides might be turning, a surprise attack decimates the growing rebellion.

Desperate, with much of her crew missing or worse, Caledonia is forced to make an unlikely and unsteady alliance with a new enemy. It's a gamble that could cost her everything, but with the fate of the seas in her hands, Caledonia will do whatever it takes. War has come, and it's time to sink or swim. "

Releases February 16th
Like so many other readers, even though the last two books in this world have disappointed me, I am still excited for this release. 

Synopsis: "Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she's struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can't seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.

The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre's Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta's orbit. But her temper isn't the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.

Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other's arms."

Releases February 24th
This is the second book in the Natural History romance series, a follow up to Flirtasaurus which just tickled my funny bone and I am so excited to see what this book holds. 

Synopsis: "My name is Mabel, the girl who “wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

Of course I wouldn’t.
I’m an entomologist for goodness’ sake.
I work in a nature center.
Bugs are my jam.

It’s the humans in my life who are starting to get me down. I’m used to them calling me sweet and innocent. I can even handle them calling me naive. But when they lie and keep secrets from me? That's when my proverbial pincers want to come out.

Trouble is, I'm not the girl who fights back.

Not until a handsome groundskeeper with a dirty mouth and secrets of his own shows up and lights all sorts of fires in me.

In the bug world, the female is always the fiercest. The praying mantis doesn’t worry about being a “good girl.” Nope, she follows her instincts no matter how crass or crude they may seem to others.

Turns out I could learn a thing or two from her.

I’m not necessarily looking to tear anyone’s head off, but after decades of being nice, it's high time for me to return to nature and unleash my wild side."

Anticipated Release ARCs:

Here I have all the anticipated releases that I have received ARCs for this month and a couple I have requested as well but may not have been approved for or received yet.

Releases February 2nd
I haven't read Catana Chetwynd's comics before but this one just speaks to me and I am so excited to be able to read it early. 

Synopsis: "When you've reached that sweatpants-wearing cozy place in your relationship, it's all In Love & Pajamas!  This brand-new collection of Catana Comics presents some fan favorites and half of the book features never-before-seen comics that delight and amuse readers of all ages.  Wholesome, sweet, feel-good humor!"

Releases February 23rd
This book sounds so cute (and right up my animal/rescue loving heart) and even better it is the first in a series so I can follow along as it grows!

Synopsis: "A lottery winner uses her good fortune to save a local pet sanctuary, but when a body is discovered on the property, she just might be in the doghouse in this first book in a new, charming cozy mystery series from author Deborah Blake.

Kari Stuart's life is going nowhere--until she unexpectedly wins the lottery. The twenty-nine-year-old instant multimillionaire is still mulling plans for her winnings when trying to rescue a bossy black kitten leads her to a semiabandoned animal shelter. They need the cash--Kari needs a purpose.

But the dilapidated rescue is literally going to the dogs with a pending lawsuit, hard to adopt animals, and too much suspicious attention from the town's dog warden. When the warden turns up dead outside the shelter's dog kennels, Kari finds herself up a creek without a pooper-scooper.

With the help of some dedicated volunteers, a cute vet, and a kitten who mysteriously shows up just when she needs it, Kari must prove her innocence all while trying to save a dog on death row. Now she just needs to hope that her string of unexpected luck isn't about to run out."

Library Requests:

These are the books I will be requesting at my local library because I am interested in them but maybe not sure if I want to add them to my physical library yet.

Releases February 2nd

Synopsis: "In time for the 20th anniversary of 9/11, bestselling author Alan Gratz delivers a breathtaking, multifaceted, and resonant look at this singular event in US history -- and how it still impacts us today.
It's September 11, 2001. Brandon, a 9-year-old boy, goes to work for the day with his dad . . . at the World Trade Center in New York City. When two planes hit the towers, Brandon and his father are trapped inside a fiery nightmare as terror and confusion swirl around them. Can they escape -- and what will the world be like when they do?
In present-day Afghanistan, Reshmina is an 11-year-old girl who is used to growing up in the shadow of war, but she has dreams of peace and unity. When she ends up harboring a wounded young American soldier, she and her entire family are put in mortal danger. But Reshmina also learns something surprising about the roots of this endless war.
With his trademark skill and insight, Alan Gratz delivers an action-packed and powerful story of two kids whose lives connect in unexpected ways, and reminds us how the past and present are always more linked than we think."

Releases February 2nd

Synopsis: "As a daughter of the Salt King, Emel ought to be among the most powerful women in the desert. Instead, she and her sisters have less freedom than even her father's slaves … for the Salt King uses his own daughters to seduce visiting noblemen into becoming powerful allies by marriage.

Escape from her father's court seems impossible, and Emel dreams of a life where she can choose her fate. When members of a secret rebellion attack, Emel stumbles upon an alluring escape route: her father's best-kept secret—a wish-granting jinni, Saalim.

But in the land of the Salt King, wishes are never what they seem. Saalim's magic is volatile. Emel could lose everything with a wish for her freedom as the rebellion intensifies around her. She soon finds herself playing a dangerous game that pits dreams against responsibility and love against the promise of freedom. As she finds herself drawn to the jinni for more than his magic, captivated by both him and the world he shows her outside her desert village, she has to decide if freedom is worth the loss of her family, her home and Saalim, the only man she's ever loved."

Releases February 2nd

Synopsis: "In this instant literary classic about friendship, forging your own path, and doing what’s right, debut author Hannah Gold inspires fans of Pax and A Wolf Called Wander to make a difference in any way they can.

There are no polar bears left on Bear Island. At least, that’s what April’s father tells her when his scientific research takes them to a faraway Arctic outpost.

But one night, April catches a glimpse of something distinctly bear shaped loping across the horizon. A polar bear who shouldn’t be there—who is hungry, lonely and a long way from home.

Fusing environmental awareness with a touching story of kindness, The Last Bear will include full-page black-and-white illustrations as well as a note from the author with facts about the real Bear Island and the plight of the polar bears."

Releases February 9th

Synopsis: "When a banished witch falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this moving, subversive debut novel that reimagines Norse mythology.

Angrboda's story begins where most witches' tales end: with a burning. A punishment from Odin for refusing to provide him with knowledge of the future, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless, and she flees into the farthest reaches of a remote forest. There she is found by a man who reveals himself to be Loki, and her initial distrust of him transforms into a deep and abiding love.

Their union produces three unusual children, each with a secret destiny, who Angrboda is keen to raise at the edge of the world, safely hidden from Odin's all-seeing eye. But as Angrboda slowly recovers her prophetic powers, she learns that her blissful life—and possibly all of existence—is in danger.

With help from the fierce huntress Skadi, with whom she shares a growing bond, Angrboda must choose whether she’ll accept the fate that she's foreseen for her beloved family…or rise to remake their future. From the most ancient of tales this novel forges a story of love, loss, and hope for the modern age."

Releases February 16th

Synopsis: "As electrifying as it is heartbreaking, Sam Taylor's explosive fantasy debut We Are the Fire is perfect for fans of An Ember in the Ashes and the legend of Spartacus.

In the cold, treacherous land of Vesimaa, children are stolen from their families by a cruel emperor, forced to undergo a horrific transformative procedure, and serve in the army as magical fire-wielding soldiers. Pran and Oksana―both taken from their homeland at a young age―only have each other to hold onto in this heartless place.

Pran dreams of one day rebelling against their oppressors and destroying the empire; Oksana only dreams of returning home and creating a peaceful life for them both.

When they discover the emperor has a new, more terrible mission than ever for their kind, Pran and Oksana vow to escape his tyranny once and for all. But their methods and ideals differ drastically, driving a wedge between them. Worse still, they both soon find that the only way to defeat the monsters that subjugated them may be to become monsters themselves.

Releases February 23rd

Synopsis: "In the second installment of Maria DiRico's new Catering Hall Mystery series, Mia Carina is back in the borough of Queens, in charge of the family catering hall Belle View Banquet Manor, and keeping her nonna company. But some events--like murder at a shower--are not the kind you can schedule...

Mia's newly pregnant friend Nicole plans to hold a shower at Belle View--but Nicole also has to attend one that her competitive (and mysteriously rich) stepmother, Tina, is throwing at the fanciest place in Queens. It's a good chance for Mia to snoop on a competitor, especially since doing a search for how to run a catering hall can get you only so far.

Mia tags along at the lavish party, but the ambience suffers at Nicole's Belle View shower when a fight breaks out--and then, oddly, a long-missing and valuable stolen painting is unwrapped by the mom-to-be. Tina is clearly shocked to see it. But not as shocked as Mia is when, soon afterward, she spots the lifeless body of a party guest floating in the marina . . .

Italian recipes included!"

So there are my most anticipated books of February, there are a lot more than I expected for the short month.  I was hoping to get approved for a couple more ARCs but that didn't happen so they got moved to the library list. I may end up picking some of those up in the future if my library doesn't get them soon. How many of these books are on your list for February? What books do you have on your list that I don't have here? 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Review of The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo


Read for: Recently Added & Love the world

Synopsis: "Dive into the epic world of international bestselling author Leigh Bardugo with this beautifully illustrated replica of The Lives of Saints, the Istorii Sankt’ya, featuring tales of saints drawn from the beloved novels and beyond. Out of the pages of the Shadow and Bone trilogy, from the hands of Alina Starkov to yours, the Istorii Sankt’ya is a magical keepsake from the Grishaverse.

These tales include miracles and martyrdoms from familiar saints like Sankta Lizabeta of the Roses and Sankt Ilya in Chains, to the strange and obscure stories of Sankta Ursula, Sankta Maradi, and the Starless Saint.

This beautiful collection includes stunning full-color illustrations of each story."

My Review: I have been waiting for this book for some time and now that I have it in my hands, it was so worth the wait. This book is so physically beautiful, gold embossing on the cover, textured end pages, gold detailing on all the edges of the pages and beautiful illustrations to accompany each story. I listened to the audio book while reading the physical copy and the audio version is great, it has multiple narrators so each of the stories is well defined in both audio and physical versions. The stories of each of the saints is honestly a bit gruesome but I would expect nothing less for the Grisha world. This is a beautiful book to add to the collection and I loved the added background it gives to the world and history.

My Rating: I really enjoyed this addition to the world and series, it is a great companion to Language of Thorns. The artwork was stunning, the audio book was great as well. I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Top 5 Wednesday: Most Disliked Required Reading

  Top 5 Wednesday is a group on Goodreads.

I am very thankful that a user on Goodreads by the name Gabriella has taken over hosting and selecting topics for Top 5 Wednesday and has revived the group, I am loving the new topics.

So this week's topic is about required reading in school, and while most will be talking about the books they ended up really enjoying, I figured I have discussed this topic enough over the years and it would be fun to talk about the required reading that I ended up really disliking instead.  So here are the books that were required reading in school that I ended up really not enjoying (sometimes even failing to finish and winging it on tests and assignments).

In 6th grade I was in an advanced reader class and one of the books we had to read was Jane Eyre. I honestly think that it was a bit advanced for even our advanced reading class and the subject matter was not what 6th graders would find interesting at all. It was such a dull drag to read that after that I requested to be moved back to the regular reading class instead of sitting through more books like this one.

The very next year we had to read both Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and I found them both so intolerable. I found the stories to be tedious and boring and the vernacular was difficult to read, especially in Huckleberry Finn. I don't think I actually ever finished either one of these. 

In high school we had to read The Scarlet Letter, this is one book that put me to sleep every single time I tried to read it.  I didn't make it more than 10 pages into this one. The constant run-on sentences drove me crazy and it was so overly worded that I just couldn't focus on it. 

Yet another high school required reading, I honestly don't recall much from this book, probably because it wasn't something a high school kid could relate to or have any interest in reading. I highly doubt I ever finished this one either.

So what were some of your least favorite school required reading? Do you think any of these books would be worth me trying to pick up and re-read as an adult?

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Series Review: A Library Lover's Mysteries by Jenn McKinlay

 I tend to be a person who binges series once I find one I enjoy, especially when it is an older series with a lot of backlist titles.  So instead of posting reviews of each individual book, I instead will do a general review of the series as a whole.  For shorter series I will post my review of the individual titles, for longer series I will post links to my full reviews.  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 just recently discovered both Jenn McKinlay and Cozy Mysteries, needless to say, I dove in head first! I originally read a couple of Jenn McKinlay's romance books before trying this series out, then I proceeded to binge the whole series since it was available from my local library.   The Library Lover's Mystery Series is set in a small town on the shores of Connecticut and follows the town's new library director, Lindsey Norris.  For being such a small town there are a lot of odd things happening and a few bodies turning up. With the aid of her new Crafternoon ladies, Lindsey gets caught up in the murder investigations and excitement and danger ensue.  If you want to see individual reviews for each book they will be linked at the bottom of this post.


My Full Series Review and Rating: This being my first foray into a full series of Cozy Mysteries, I wasn't sure what to expect but I was very happy with what I found.  I think a bit of my enjoyment factor came from the touch of romance that helps carry the characters through the tough events.  I was also impressed to find that the murders and the investigations were so unique throughout the series, the never seemed to get repetitive. I did see a bit of influence from real life cases here and there but there was definitely a twist on each of the stories to keep them unique to this series. I loved the small town setting and the odd cast of characters, they leant some comedic relief when needed and the close knit community support when needed as well. Even the side characters had a unique voice and you can't help but grow attached to all of them. I thoroughly enjoyed every book I read and I don't think I gave any of them less than 3 stars. Some were definitely 5 star books.  So I give this series as a whole a rating of Four Paws!

Individual Book Reviews:

Monday, January 25, 2021

Monday Reading List

       It is Monday and it is 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

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

The Whole Cat & Caboodle
The Lives of Saints
Across the Green Grass Fields

Currently Reading:
The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson - Print - on page 38 of 368

Pages Read/ Time Listened
63:47 Hours Listened This Year(14:23 listened this week)
2,233 Pages Read This Year (480 Read this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
Lives of Saints (Good Choice Reading - 2020 Purchase) - READ
Across the Green Grass Fields (Jan. Pre-Order) - READ
Winterkeep (Jan. Pre-Order)


It was a very busy week last week so there was very little reading getting done.  Monday was a holiday so it was Munchkin and I all day at home, Tuesday evening I got to get on the webinar for Kristin Cashore's release day. Wednesday found out about an exposure to Covid so had to cancel a bunch of appointments and get tested, it was negative thank goodness. Saturday hubby visited a couple of friends and worked on their vehicles and Sunday was once again just Munchkin and I, which always means a lot of games.  I am not real thrilled about Hubby's new work schedule, it is really cutting into what little reading time I had before. Now I can't even listen to books while doing chores because Munchkin is always with me and constantly interrupting. I am hoping that once the weather gets warmer and the vaccine is a little more widely available, maybe Munchkin can have play dates with some friends and get out of my hair just a tiny bit.

Anyway, we are already in the final week of January and half way through Medieval-a-thon. I have been kind of poor about updating on my instagram page but will be doing so this week. Based on my reading availability I have had to adjust my TBR slightly to fit more books in. I probably won't get to my goal of 15 books but I am working hard on it.