10 December 2019

Blogmas Day 7: What I Read in October and November

Hey y'all,

I have fallen behind on my Goodread's challenge of 75 books this year but I think I can make it up the last few weeks of the year as I am trying to crank out some audiobooks with all the driving to various events. I'm also behind on sharing what I have been reading so here is what I read in October and November.



Firedark (Firedark, #1)"The kingdom of Candelaon is facing many foes, and the worst of them by far is the fire mages who are terrorizing the land—especially since no one seems to know anything about them. Where do they come from when they appear out of thin air? Where do they go after they burn villages to the ground? What is their goal?
But perhaps the most pressing question is whether or not it’s safe to keep a man with their abilities so close at hand, as the king’s second.
Sir Gabrel has been at King Haylan’s side since he first gained his powers, but there is much that they don’t know about the fire magic and how Gabrel came to wield it. And as he trains others to wield it as well, there are those who wonder if it can be trusted. There are those who wonder if Sir Gabrel himself is a danger to the land."

This was September's book club pick and although I could not attend the meeting and I finished the book a little later I did enjoy this book. This is a fantasy story that is the start of a series. It was a lot of character building and setting the scene with the majority of the action at the very end.I'm interested to read the next book in the series but as a stand alone I gave it a ⭐⭐⭐.

American Royals

"What if America had a royal family?
When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne.
As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America's first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she's breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn't care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her. And then there's Samantha's twin, Prince Jefferson. If he'd been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart."

Y'all, I love this concept. Seriously, what would have happened if instead of making Washington president, he was given a crown. The teenagers of the Washington family have some big personalities and opinions. I will tell you that this is the first in a series which will let you know when big things are not resolved and you only have a few pages left. I'm excited for the next book in 2020. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A Court of Thorns and Roses

"Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...
Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever."

ACOTAR has been on my to-read list for what seems like forever. When I found out one of my favorite audiobook readers, Jennifer Ikeda reads the first book I decided to add it to my library holds. This first book is reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast (my favorite Disney movie) but is darker,  includes a lot of complex fae politics at the ending, and is a more adult in the romance context. I was hooked and finished this book in three days. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Miracle Creek

"How far will you go to protect your family? Will you keep their secrets? Ignore their lies?
In a small town in Virginia, a group of people know each other because they’re part of a special treatment center, a hyperbaric chamber that may cure a range of conditions from infertility to autism. But then the chamber explodes, two people die, and it’s clear the explosion wasn’t an accident.
A powerful showdown unfolds as the story moves across characters who are all maybe keeping secrets, hiding betrayals. Chapter by chapter, we shift alliances and gather evidence: Was it the careless mother of a patient? Was it the owners, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? Could it have been a protester, trying to prove the treatment isn’t safe?"

I picked this book for the October book club selection after hearing great things and selecting it as a BOTM purchase. This is a court-room drama that is dealing with a very tragic situation. It is told in multiple perspectives that keep you guessing on who actually committed the crime of the fire. Miracle Creek brought up a lot of discussion on immigrant stories, different treatments, and more.The novel weaves family drama, the immigrant story, crime, and how we view diagnoses all together. ⭐⭐⭐⭐


A Court of Mist and Fury

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)
"Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.
Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world torn apart."

The second in the ACOTAR series and probably my favorite of the original trilogy is filled with Feyre after the "happily ever after" should begin. However, after such a monumental end to the first book, she is questioning who she is now in the Fae world and where she belongs. This book also turns some characters from the first novel on their head as you learn more about their motives. This one is really when Feyre gets her love story along with learning about the impending war and how it will impact her former home of the human realm.⭐⭐⭐⭐

When Less Becomes More

"Statistics don’t lie. People today are more fatigued, burned out, and overwhelmed than ever. Smartphones constantly ping and alert and demand our attention. And social media can eat up hours of our days with mindless scrolling and tapping while leaving many feeling empty and lonely. Add to that family commitments, work that is accessible around the clock, and over-scheduling, and you have a life that can feel unmanageable and frantic . . . even running on empty.
In this book, Emily Ley takes readers on a journey out of that empty place and shows them how to fill their wells with the nourishment that only true connection can provide. She also presents some radical concepts that push against the tethers of modern life, with the promise that more of the good stuff comes when we say yes to less of what keeps us empty:
Less Rush, More Rhythm
Less Liking, More Loving
Less Noise, More Calm
Less Distraction, More Connection
Less Frenzy, More Soul Rest
Less Fake, More Real
Less Fear, More Community
Less Great, More Good
Less Chasing, More Cherishing
Less Stuff, More Treasures
Getting to more might require some outside-the-box changes, some unraveling of the patterns readers have adopted, some reworking of the day-to-day so that they can build a life based on their core values instead of slipping into a life dictated by society or what’s “normal.” Because we weren't made for normal. We were made for more—for a life of fullness, dreaming, and lasting joy."

I was a part of the WLBM launch team with Simplified and Emily Ley. I love Emily Ley's previous books, Grace Not Perfection and A Simplified Life, so I was excited for this book to release in November. The book became a voice telling me to slow down, breathe, and focus on the beauty found in margin and rest. Here’s to nights of silence from technology and instead laughter with friends over meals or the sounds of book pages turning. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A Court of Wings and Ruin

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.
As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

This is the final book in the original trilogy of ACOTAR (there is a book numbered #3.1 which I will chat about next month). The majority of this book involved the war which made it my least favorite. I'm just not a big wartime person so it wasn't my favorite part of the novel. However, I loved learning more about the different fae courts and the various connections they all had from the past. I also loved that some of the side characters of Feyre's band had more center stage roles. ⭐⭐⭐

The Kiss Thief

The Kiss Thief
They say your first kiss should be earned.
Mine was stolen by a devil in a masquerade mask under the black Chicago sky.
They say the vows you take on your wedding day are sacred.
Mine were broken before we left church.
They say your heart only beats for one man.
Mine split and bled for two rivals who fought for it until the bitter end.
I was promised to Angelo Bandini, the heir to one of the most powerful families in the Chicago Outfit.
Then taken by Senator Wolfe Keaton, who held my father’s sins over his head to force me into marriage.
They say that all great love stories have a happy ending.
I, Francesca Rossi, found myself erasing and rewriting mine until the very last chapter.
One kiss.
Two men.
Three lives.
Entwined together.
And somewhere between these two men, I had to find my forever.

This was a quick romance to clean the book hangover after the ACOTAR series I found on Kindle Unlimited. It is more on the steamy side of romance but involves a young woman who is the daughter of a crime boss in Chicago. She has been presented to society and expects to begin being courted by the young man she loves (also the son of one of her Father's cronies), Angelo. However, leaving the masquerade in her honor, she kisses a man she thought to be Angelo, only to find out it's Senator Wolfe Keaton. The next morning, Wolfe shows up to her home, meets with her father, and then she is suddenly engaged to him and moving to his home away from her family and the life she has always known. There are some hard scenes to read when miscommunication breaks the couple but overall a quick, enjoyable read. ⭐⭐.5 

What have you been reading?
Life According to Steph

You can catch up on my other Blogmas posts here as I am blogging everyday this month!

Merry Blogmas,
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  1. American Royals is at the top of my list to read! I just have to wait until my library has a copy available.
    I love Emily Ley's previous books, I just haven't read WLBM yet. I LOVE the concept and put "Less Stuff, More Treasures" on my letterboard this week. Can't wait to pick that one up.

  2. I hadn't considered listening to ACOTAR, I wonder if I'd like it like that! I see it around a lot but wasn't sure if I'd like it.

  3. You've read so many books that I am wanting to read! I am patiently awaiting American Royals from my library!

  4. I've been watching the Christmas Prince movies on Netflix and feel like I'm totally in the mood for American Royals now-- adding it to my list. I got Grace Not Perfection earlier this year and need to take the time to sit down and finish it.

  5. American Royals sounds very intriguing :) I'll have to add that to my list - thanks for sharing!


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