Bookish Thoughts: The Blacksmith Queen

Sometimes a girl just needs to not DNF (do not finish) a book.

I’ve stayed away from my TBR (to be read) pile because I’ve been DNF’ing so many books. So. Many. Books. It’s much easier to DNF a library or Lobby book than one I’ve spent my pre-inflation salary on.

If I’ve read a book by G.A. Aiken before I don’t remember. I’m not sure why. Because The Blacksmith Queen was just what I needed. (Found on Libby)

Fantasy. Check.

Romance. Check.

Funny. Check.

So many things checked off my list. Magical beings; centaurs and elves and dwarves and demon wolves. A heroine you can get behind– she’s strong, knows her own mind and my goodness. There is family, politics, savage battle and a Dragon! Oh how I’ve missed dragons!

Now I either have to wait for my (estimated) 4 week wait time to get book 2 from Libby or… Wait till payday. May go back to Nook Books just because they’re cheaper but…. I really like physical books. Some books I really need the ability to flip through.

Not The Blacksmith Queen, tho. Nope. Ripped through it in less than 24 hours.

Bookish Thoughts: Priory of the Orange Tree

This is a monster of a book. But the thing is– it was only 800 and change in pages, so I’m not sure why exactly this book was soo thick. Printing options, I guess? I bought it online so, I had no clue until I received it.

And it intimidated me for a long time. Even when I started reading, it took a while to get going to where I was actively ripping through the story. 1 week to do 200 pages. The other 600 and change were completed the following week.

I would give this book… Hmmm… I don’t know. I read it. I enjoyed a lot of it, but for me I wish it had been tighter with more dragons and less of one of the male characters. If you read it you know.  You probably feel the same. But Tane did not have enough screen time.  For while her ending was beautiful, it made no sense to me. 

And I wish it did.

Bookish Thoughts: Legends & Lattes

I heard about Travis Baldree’s “Legends & Lattes” through Reddit and TikTok. I wasn’t sure about it, because book recommendations are such a personal thing. You may love a book that I just can’t get into. Or vice versa.

So I bought it on B&N dot com, because we know I can’t find anything at the local store because apparently we don’t read (except we DO AND THEY JUST DONT LIKE US –they are perfectly nice. It’s the algorithm that hates us)

Anyways my lovelies… I was worried. Would I like something that popular? Most of the books on the bestseller lists I do a hard pass on. But then again, how many of the books that I love are on the NYT list?

The prologue didn’t help matters. I understand why it was there, but personally it put me off a bit. They normally do. It’s a preference thing– you might love them.

And then I turned the page. Viv is in Thune and what the heck is going on? And I was sucked in. It hit the boxes of keeping me turning the pages, a found family and some snark. It was just what I needed.

Because in the century since lockdowns started (has it really been ONLY a few years?) and society sometimes feels like a dumpster fire, what is better than snuggling down with a comfort read?

A Cozy Fantasy?

Yes please!

Have any more recommendations for this fledgling sub-genre?

Bookish Thoughts: Nettle &  Bone by T. Kingfisher

I spent Saturday with Marra, an unwilling Princess who assembled a merry band of assassin’s including a dust wife, a fairy godmother who is NOT as she first appears, an exiled warrior and a bone dog. It. Was. Wonderful.

I received the book at work on Thursday. As you, Gentle Reader, might understand I waited to start  this most anticipated story. The newbies are crying out “Why??!!” in dismay. It is because I knew, for a fact, that I would resent every interruption in my breaks. And the phones did ring– I was proven correct. But Saturday? The stars aligned— the Princeling even went out on an adventure with his friends leaving me the whole, glorious day to wallow in Marra’s story.

Nettle & Bone is signature T. Kingfisher. An unlikely heroine, a great support system (i.e. found family), and while some truly horrible things are going on in the story it doesn’t take away from the overall feel of the story.

It is a slim volume, clocking in at 240 pages with an Author’s Note added that tells us how story’s morph and change and gain traction in a writer’s mind. I love reading about the process, so I would probably count it as 243 pages. It is a beautiful volume, with an embossed (spoiler) on the hard cover, and beautiful artwork once you open the cover.

Why am I mentioning the length, the beauty, etc? Because the cost is 25.99 for the hardback. I know when Martha Wells’ Murderbot series first came out I struggled hard with paying the same price for a novella as a novel. I finally made peace with the situation by realizing if I had gone to the movies I would have paid much more for far less entertainment (the joke with the Princeling is that I used to take him to the movies so I could take a nap. True story). Authors deserve to be paid, as do the cover artists, editors, etc etc.

That being said, Tor Books— do better. I was pissed, mad as hell, that when I made it to page 153 there was a giant ink blot across two words at the top of the page. Further in, at pages 172 & 173 I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. Nope. The printing is lighter on the left page (172) that it is on the right (173). This happened on several sets of pages. A great book was marred by poor printing. Tor Books— you need better Quality Control or to go to a printer that actually does QC.

Still love the hell out of the story and may spend today rereading it (I love the world T. Kingfisher takes us to).

Bookish Thoughts: TBR Piles

I got book mail today– a day early! I had ordered 4 books from B&N online, and 3 came in a day early (including the one I shouted about when I saw it– and I had it shipped to my work, for reasons, so that was a bit awkward). We shall talk more about why I didn’t go to the local Barnes & Noble in a different post.. for this one, the box being a day early made a semi-bad day into an awesome day!

Now, part of the reason why I had the books delivered to my work is that my TBR Pile is starting to get a wee bit out of control. Like mightily. I haven’t really read any of the books I got a month ago for my birthday.

I haven’t read much at all.

Why is that? I love reading. I also love writing– and have started again. But the books I have on deck are not anything like what I’m writing so… Why?

Partly because things went a little sideways for me. So I’ve been going down the YouTube and TikTok hole. More TikTok, because they’re all fairly short and easy to scroll past. I didn’t want to commit to the time. I’m horrid. My brain was scattered.

Sometimes, we are just a mess. And even though we know we really enjoy reading, none of the bazillion books we have feel like the right fit for our mood. My mood. I’ll cop to it. It wasn’t us, it was me. Also partly why I disappeared from my blog for a few moments.

But then a book I’ve been (in)patiently waiting to come out did on Tuesday. And there was another book I wanted to read and I ended up finding 4. One I’m anxiously waiting for Friday night to read because I’m gonna rip straight through it. The book? Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher. I’ll let you know how it is.

And perhaps if I’m brave I’ll snap a pic this weekend of my TBR pile. It’s a bit psychotic. And it is well past time to starting reading the books instead of just buying them. We’ll see how it goes!

Is there a book your on pins and needles waiting for?

Creative Journal/Planning

So… I may have started using a planner. And it might, maybe well…. It is decorated. And I find myself looking forward to using it every day.

I don’t have a lot going on that needs to be in a planner. My schedule is pretty set, so what on earth do I need a planner for? What do I use it for? My appointments for a week fit on a post-it note. With room to spare. Still on there but also…

A reading log and quotes that I find and like. Gratitude list which is now on my monthly calendar because I ran out of room this week (which is a wonderful thing). I’ll also draw a little TV and write in a show I’m looking forward to that has started back up or questions and concerns (Looking at you Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19!)

I also journal a bit in the empty boxes. It has become a nightly ritual– look over it, make notes about my day or how I’m feeling.

I have my “Be a Blessing” area roped off where I keep track of cards I’ve sent out, who and what date I sent it. Since tracking, I have sent at least 1 card a day. Fun Story: I googled one of my dad’s old friends/co workers and found an address. Phone was disconnected. So I sent a card on Monday. Dad spoke with him on Wednesday and it lifted his spirits.

Speaking of cards, since I have stickers and pens and washi tape (I thought I had so.much.stuff! Until I watched some planners on YouTube) I experimented and made my first card. We shall see how well it goes over 😊 I think my friend will love it

The best thing about it though is a group I belong to. We all meet up via FB messenger on Sunday night and work on our planners. Tips and tricks are shared, so are our stories. It feels like having coffee with friends. It’s the highlight of my week, my one “social” activity that I plan on every week. Even the princeling knows that we don’t mess around with Moms planning time.

My me time, with friends

QUICK NOTES:

I get a lot of my ideas from 2 YouTube people. Planning with Bumble and Kell of a Plan are the “channels” I watch.

Do you do planning? How do u plan? What YouTubers do you follow for decorative planning?

TBR Pile

I have an insanely large TBR pile at the moment. It was only 7 (10) or so books, but then I went to the used book store. Who were more than happy to give me credit on books! To be used for more books! So I got a few (5) (ok 6 but 1 was one I forgot I had read– it has a different cover).

So of course like a good little reader I started reading the New (to me!) books that I obtained at the second hand shop. They are all almost romances. And sometimes, when life is rough, you just need a warm fuzzy romance to get you through. Including 2 Christmas ones for extra fuzzies.

Part of the reason my TBR is so high is because I discovered Libby. Libby is courtesy of Local libraries (you just need a card) and it a HUGE upgrade from Overdrive. Huge. And I ripped through a few books there.

So. I’m back to paper books at the moment. And I loved being in the used book store. It felt like going and visiting a beloved friend. Do you have a shop that feels that way?

Bookish Thoughts: Jolene, by Mercedes Lackey

I bought Jolene by Mercedes Lackey because of an ear worm. Everytime I saw the book, I heard Dolly Parton singing her song. Every time. I happen to really like a Lackey book, too, so… I snapped it up

Lately I’ve been loving her dedications. Like to the point of buying a book entirely based on the dedication. This one happens to be in memory of the indomitable RBG. Ms. Lackey has a new part of the Herald series out and that one was an effing mic drop worthy of gold. (I kind of wish we gave awards out just for that!)

Jolene is part of the Elemental Masters Series but works well on its own. It takes place in America whereas most of the others in the series (if not all) take place in England.

Now, I can be a little slow on the uptake. My family loves it because it makes me a prime target for pranking. I didn’t get much of the Dolly song during reading most of them book because I was so hooked into the book. Totally ignoring the thematic hooks that tied back to the song. I was immersed. But when the literal payoff came I screamed! It was wonderful! And after finishing the book, I got it. So yes, the earworm source is throughout the book but does not detract in any way.

A couple of notes on the book: number one is that it is dialect heavy. Not a sprinkling but completely true. It didn’t really bother me once I got into it, however it can be hard to read for some.

The second thing is that.. poor Anna May! She got Wendy’d by Jolene. Jolene is not the main character yet the title is her name (which, ok I get based on the novel) but also… Anna May is not on the cover. Her love interest is. Jolene is. But Anna May? Nope. I feel for Anna May and Wendy– there stories while awesome kind of get hijacked.

This was definitely a 4.5 ring book. Lots of phone calls while I was reading on break!

Book Talk: Christmas Romance

There is nothing quite as refreshing as a Christmas Romance novel. They are holly and jolly and just break in the season so well.

I read my first Christmas Romance of the season on Halloween.

Yup.

It may have been a bad year.

It was a great little book, one in the Beach Street Bakery series. I had only come to this series on my first or second forray back into print books and it was the second book in the series (Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery). I saw the Christmas entry into the series and had to go for it. I meant to save it but… saving didn’t happen.

A review also didn’t happen. Mainly because i was embarassed I started out the season so soon. But I ripped right through it. No holds barred. A couple of days at most from start to finish.

I just finished my second Christmas romance, called The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery. Ripped right through it. And I noticed something. Something that happened every single time I went on break at work.

A little back story. I answer phones at work, and I’m able to take the phone with me when I go out to my car to read for a few minutes. I answer the phones on my breaks– it doesn’t happen often and frankly it’s easier for me to talk to the customers. Unless I’m in the middle of a book that has sucked me in completely and I’m already reluctant to go back to work after my break (just let me stay and read! please!). EVERY SINGLE TIME I’m in the grip of a book, the phone will ring. Every single break. Lunch, too.

It happened so much I debated starting a new rating method— rings. As in phone rings. As in I got 4 phone calls! 1 each break and 2 on lunch and that’s just bull puckey when you’re trying to read a good book!

I raced home and was able to finish it and with the Wedding Guest story I actually got 2 happy endings AND a Christmas Wedding so all’s well that ends well!

What’s your secret life is hard and i need something to make me feel better type of book?

Reading Log: All Adults Here by Emma Straub

All Adults here by Emma Straub was one of those books where I’m not sure where I sit in regards to it. I read it all and enjoyed it to some degree, but it wasn’t one of my favorite reads. The way I can tell is in how fast I read, and this one took a bit to get through.

Part of it is the tone of the book. While it does have some funny bits, such as Porter coming to the realization that “Doing stupid things didn’t have to be wasted on the young,” the book is a quiet, literary type of funny. Or maybe just a quieter book.

A lot of my lagging in the reading speed might have been that most of the novel relied on people… not Adulting. Communication is KEY PEOPLE! There were a couple of times when I wanted strangle Porter— or throw the book across the room. The actual teenager in the book shows more compassion and understand and just general adulting than her parents and some of the other “adults” in the novel. Again. Is the point of the book more than likely…. but….. wow.

Sometimes a girl needs to take a break from the book she’s reading. Those breaks may or may not include Redditt. (I don’t do Facebook much anymore.) Sometimes I read the articles on Google. This doesn’t happen with every book, and it doesn’t mean the book is bad. It just means that I needed a break of all the not adulting the adults were doing in All Adults Here, by Emma Straub.