Bookish Travels—October 2023 Destinations

I saw this meme on It’s All About Books and thought, I like this!! So, I decided to do it once a month also. Many thanks to Yvonne for initially posting this!!

This post is what it says: Places I travel to in books each month. Books are lovely and take you to places you would never get to. That includes places of fantasy, too!!

Bon Voyage!!

Please let me know if you have read these books or traveled to these areas.

Countries I visited the most: United States, England

States I visited the most: New York. North Carolina, Massachusetts, New Jersey, California

Cities I visited the most: New York City, London, Boston

United States

North Carolina (Bitter Bark), New York (New York City)
New York (Edgewater, New York City), New Jersey (Newark), Georgia (Atlanta), Delaware (Dover, Howl Bay, Leipsic), Utah (Salt Lake City)
Massachusetts (Cambridge, Boston, Gloucester, Danvers, Dorchester, Wellesley), Rhode Island, New York (Brooklyn), Washington D.C., New Hampshire
Colorado (Last Word)
North Carolina (Tarburton), New York (New York City)
Mississippi (Flora, Jackson), Illinois (Chicago), New York (Harlem)
New York (New York City)
New York (Ray Brook, Clermont), Ohio (Cleveland), Massachusetts (Boston)
Pennsylvania (Harrow), New Jersey (Manalapan Township), New York (New York City)
California (Oceanside)
Tennessee (Nashville), Michigan (Le Croix), California (Los Angeles)
Texas (Hamchet)
Wisconsin (Seven Sisters)


Hackney, London
1940’s London

Xiingjia System**

Bagoha, Calimon, Halleveh, Feraygo

Rabraman System**

Echuazi, Gorgjian, Kadefen, Omega 8, Yurdite

Castor & Pollux and Leda System**

Alpha One

**All listed for The Captain: 17 Planets are planets in the solar systems


France (Paris)

Czech Republic


Human Lands


Fae Lands

Essence Court (Azalea), Earth Court, Water Court, Air Court, Fire Court, Witches Territory, Mermaids Territory


Holding, Sermouth, Highstone Hill, Poulsen, Katton, Doscadia, Rothmount

October 2023 Wrap-Up

Here is what I read/posted/won/received/bought in October.

As always, let me know if you have read any of these books and (if you did) what you thought of them.

Books I Read:

Books Reviewed:

The Parachutists by R.L. Minnich—review here (4 stars)

Tantalus Depths by Evan Graham—review here (4 stars)

The Intern by Michele Campbell—review here (4 stars)

A Cold Highland Wind by Tasha Alexander—review here (4 stars)

Love in Winter Wonderland by Abiola Bello—review here (4 stars)

A Traitor in Whitehall by Julia Kelly—review here (4 stars)

Overdue or Die by Allison Brook—review here (3 stars)

Last Word to the Wise by Ann Claire—review here (4 stars)

Stalking Around the Christmas Tree by Jacqueline Frost—review here (4 stars)

In the Wick of Time by Valona Jones—review here (3 stars)

The Captain by A.R. Alexander—review here (3 stars)

Bright Lights, Big Christmas by Mary Kay Andrews—review here (4 stars)

Mary Not Broken by Deborah L. King—review here (4 stars)

Love Interest by Clare Gilmore—review here (4 stars)

Sanctuary Motel by Alan Orloff—review here (4 stars)

The Puzzle Master by Danielle Trussoni—review here (4 stars)

Black River Orchard by Chuck Wendig—review here (4 stars)

Murder by the Seashore by Samara Yew—review here (3 stars)

Friends Don’t Fall in Love by Erin Hahn—review here (4 stars)

Books I got from NetGalley:

Books I got from Authors/Indie Publishers:

Giveaway Winners

Reading Challenges:

Sit…Stay…Beg by Roxanne St. Claire (2023 TBR Prompts)

Mind: The Beginning by Jenn Nixon (Scavenger Hunt TBR Book Challenge)

Books I bought:

Perilous Trust by Barbara Freethy

Shadows Over Innocence by Lindsay Buroker

The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker

Ice Cracker II by Lindsay Buroker

Solstice Day Gifts by Lindsay Buroker

Mortal Weather by K.P. McCarthy

Forbidden Proposal by T.K. Leigh

Royal Creed by T.K. Leigh

Bride of Fire by Glynnis Campbell

Triskelion by Avril Borthiry

Jurassic Resort by Brent Reilly

Jurassic Resort 2 by Brent Reilly

Jurassic Resort 3 by Brent Reilly

Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover

Kiro’s Emily by Abbi Glines

March: FCBD Special by John Lewis

Fall by Tiffany Noelle Chacon

Waking Kate by Sarah Addison Allen

Her Best Match by Tamie Dearen

Ghost Clan by Heather Walker

The Beauty by Claire Delacroix

Link’d Up by Harley Stone

Crimson Dagger by Morgan Rhodes

Whispers of You by Catherine Cowles

Keep Me by Stacey Kennedy

If She Lives by Erik Therme

Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper by J.L. Bryan

Javier by Fiona Murphy

Blister by K.J. Kalis

Introductions by C.L. Stone

Meeting Sang: Kota by C.L. Stone

Touch of Mischief by C.L. Stone

Sound of Snowfall by C.L. Stone

The Crown & The Arrow by Renee Ahdieh

The Mirror & The Maze by Renee Ahdieh

Curse of Stone by Veronica Shade

Terrifying Tales by Edgar Allan Poe

Orphans of Bliss: Tales of Addiction Horror by Mark Matthews

Royally Raised by Emma Chase

Her Master by Quinn Marlowe

Sullivan’s Secret by Robin Murphy

Pilot Error by Dan Moren

Showdown by Dan Moren

The Lord Next Door by Gayle Callen

Freedom of a Highlander by Katy Baker

Fated Immortals: The Complete Shifter Romance Series Collection by Vera Rivers

Don’t Give a Damn About My Plaid Reputation by Caroline Lee

How it All Began by Fiona West

Shade by Shayne Ford

A Vengeful Realm by Tim Facciola

Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen

Flawed Justice by Tibby Armstrong

Grave Mistake by Nikki Landis

Haunting Chaos by Nikki Landis

The Cartel by E.G. Manetti

Mayaette’s Catharsis by Jack E Mohr

Mary Not Broken by Deborah L. King

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing

Date of publication: October 10th, 2023

Genre: Fiction

Series: Glory

Glory Bishop—Book 1 (review here)

Glory Unbound—Book 2 (review here)

Mary Not Broken—Book 3

Purchase Links: Kindle | B&N

Goodreads Synopsis:

In 1930s Mississippi, Mary Johnson hates the oppressive heat, working on her family farm, and having to attend her minister father’s church several times a week. But she loves Mason Carter, her musician boyfriend. Both fantasize about living the high life up north in the big city.

When William Bevers, a wealthy old preacher, comes to court her, he promises a life of luxury along with money and status for her family. Mary wants nothing to do with him, but her parents decide for her. Determined to avoid a forced marriage, Mary elopes with Mason to the bright lights of Chicago.

But life up north is not the dream they expected. Multiple tragedies push Mary to the brink, and she soon returns home to the very world she tried so desperately to escape.

Too numb to stave off the pressure from her father, Mary considers accepting William’s proposal. But she soon realizes that life as the preacher’s wife might not provide the safety and security she craves.

First Line:

Hidden in the shadows of the front room hallway, fifteen year old Mary Johnson tugged at the front of her shirt and fanned the sweat that dripped down her chest.

Mary Not Broken by Deborah L. King

Important things you need to know about the book:

Mary Not Broken is the 3rd book in the Glory series. You can read this book as a standalone. This book explains how Mary morphed into the woman portrayed in the first two Glory books. Even though you can read this book at any point in the duology, I would recommend reading Mary Not Broken first and then Glory Bishop and Glory Unbound afterward.

Mary Not Broken alternated between medium and fast-paced. I had no issues with the pacing, but I did have to go back and reread paragraphs before certain events sunk in. But I blame that on being sick and unable to focus (thank you, Nightquil!!). There was a little lag towards the end between Mary leaving Mississippi and meeting Glory’s father. But, it did not affect how much I enjoyed the book.

There are trigger warnings in Mary Not Broken. If any of these trigger you, I suggest not reading the book. They are:

  • Domestic Violence (on-page and graphic)
  • Abortion (on and off page)
  • Miscarriage (on and off page)
  • Infant Death (on and off page)
  • Teenage Marriage (on page)
  • Forced Marriage (on page)
  • Drug Use (off-page)
  • Drug Overdose (on page)
  • Child Death (on page)
  • Grief (on page)
  • Cheating (on page)

Sexual Content: There is sexual content in Mary Not Broken. But none of it is graphic. The author keeps it nondescriptive. It worked for me because if the sex scenes were explicit, it would have taken away from the storyline.

Language: There is foul language used in Mary Not Broken.

Setting: Mary Not Broken is set mainly in Mississippi, in the towns of Flora and Jackson. A couple of chapters are set in Harlem, New York, and the last half of the book is set in Chicago, Illinois.

Plot Synopsis (as spoiler-free as I can get):

Mary Johnson hates living in Flora, Mississippi. But what she hates even more is that her father has arranged her marriage to an older preacher. A strong-willed girl, Mary flees with her sweetheart to Chicago and then Harlem. But when a tragedy forces her home, Mary is again pressured to marry. Numb from what happened, Mary agrees to the marriage, only to find herself in a situation that becomes unbearable. Instead of breaking, Mary learns to bend and rely on only herself. Will Mary ever be free of her husband? Will she be able to live the life she wants? And, most importantly, will Mary have a child to love?

Main Characters

Mary Johnson: I read this book with a preconceived notion about Mary because of the previous two books. If you have read the Glory series, you understand what I am talking about and why I disliked her. But, as I read her story and saw what she went through, my dislike was tempered. Everything that happened to her (from the deaths of her first four children to Glory’s birth) tempered and shaped her into the woman she was in the first two books. I pitied her by the end of the book, and I understood her. But I could never like her.

Secondary characters: The secondary characters in Mary Not Broken were beautifully written. There were some that I couldn’t stand, others that annoyed me, and others that I liked. Each character adds their nuance and depth to the storyline.

My review:

Mary Not Broken was a good read. As I mentioned above, I went into this book not liking and not wanting to understand the main character. But, the author did an excellent job of writing this younger character of Glory’s mother in a way that I pitied and, to an extent, understood. The storyline was wonderfully written, and I enjoyed the recipes at the end.

The entire storyline centers on Mary and the years before she gave birth to Glory. The author was able to add depth to a character that I despised and was able to make me pity her. The author also showed that a strong-willed young woman can morph into the abusive mother portrayed in the Glory series. I almost didn’t want that transformation to happen, if I am going to be honest. I wanted Mary to heal from everything that happened to her.

The end of Mary Not Broken held so much hope and love. I almost wanted the author to rewrite the Glory series to what I glimpsed there. But, knowing what I know, it made me so sad to read what I read.

Many thanks to Deborah L. King for allowing me to read and review Mary Not Broken. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoy reading books similar to Bright Lights, Big Christmas, then you will enjoy these books:

Other books by Deborah L. King

WWW Wednesday: October 4th, 2023

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme Sam hosts at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

Here is what I am currently reading, recently finished, and plan to read from Thursday to Wednesday.

Let me know if you have read or are planning on reading any of these books!!

Happy Reading!!

What I am currently reading:

‘The Sun Is Also a Star’ meets ‘You’ve Got Mail’ in this YA Christmas love story set in a London Black-owned bookshop.

Charming, handsome Trey Anderson balances the pressures of school popularity with a job at his family’s beloved local bookshop, Wonderland.

Quirky, creative Ariel Spencer needs tuition for the prestigious art program of her dreams, and an opening at Wonderland is the answer. When Trey and Ariel learn that Wonderland is on the brink of being shut down by a neighborhood gentrifier, they team up to stop the doors from closing before the Christmas Eve deadline—and embark on a hate-to-love journey that will change them forever.

Heartwarming and romantic, this read is the gift that keeps on giving, no matter the season.

What I recently finished reading:

A young Harvard law student falls under the spell of a charismatic judge in this timely and thrilling novel about class, ambition, family and murder.

Madison Rivera lands the internship of a lifetime working for Judge Kathryn Conroy. But Madison has a secret that could destroy her career. Her troubled younger brother Danny has been arrested, and Conroy is the judge on his case.

When Danny goes missing after accusing the judge of corruption, Madison’s quest for answers brings her deep into the judge’s glamorous world. Is Kathryn Conroy a mentor, a victim, or a criminal? Is she trying to help Madison or use her as a pawn? And why is somebody trying to kill her?

As the two women circle each other in a dangerous cat-and-mouse game, will they save each other, or will betrayal leave one of them dead?

What I think I will read next:

From Julia Kelly, internationally bestselling author of The Last Dance of the Debutante, comes the first in the mysterious and immersive Parisian Orphan series, A Traitor in Whitehall.

1940, England: Evelyne Redfern, known as “The Parisian Orphan” as a child, is working on the line at a munitions factory in wartime London. When Mr. Fletcher, one of her father’s old friends, spots Evelyne on a night out, Evelyne finds herself plunged into the world of Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s cabinet war rooms.

However, shortly after she settles into her new role as a secretary, one of the girls at work is murdered, and Evelyne must use all of her amateur sleuthing expertise to find the killer. But doing so puts her right in the path of David Poole, a cagey minister’s aide who seems determined to thwart her investigations. That is, until Evelyne finds out David’s real mission is to root out a mole selling government secrets to Britain’s enemies, and the pair begrudgingly team up.

With her quick wit, sharp eyes, and determination, will Evelyne be able to find out who’s been selling England’s secrets and catch a killer, all while battling her growing attraction to David?

The Christie sisters and their bookshop cat, Agatha, flirt with cold-hearted crime when bookish matchmaking turns into a date with death.

Sisters Ellie and Meg Christie share a love of books, reading, and their new roles as co-caretakers of the Book Chalet, their family’s historic bookshop tucked midway up a scenic Colorado mountain. But romance? That’s another story. Ellie and Meg joke they’re in sisterly competition for worst relationships. So, when their cousin signs them up for her newest business endeavor, matchmaking based on bookish tastes, the sisters approach their blind double dates with foot-dragging dread.

While Ellie’s date meets her low expectations, Meg’s match, a book-loving romantic straight out of classic literature, charms her over a lovely dinner. The next morning, Meg is giddy with anticipation of a second date—until she’s stood up without a word. She fumes that she should have known better. However, her date had a good reason for ghosting her. He’s dead. Murdered, the police later confirm.

As the last known person to see the victim alive, Meg becomes a prime suspect in his death. She grimly quips that at least her dating record can’t get any worse. But it does. A thorn from Meg’s romantic past returns to little Last Word, espousing motives too sweet to believe.

To sleuth out the truth, the sisters must sift through secrets deeper than the February snowfall. Clues accumulate, but so do suspects, crimes, and betrayals. Ellie and Meg can’t afford to leave any page unturned. Romance may not be their forte, but hearts and lives are on the line, and the Christies know how to solve a mystery—especially when murder is involved.

“Intense and creepy. A look into the dark depths of psyche, trust, and family, with twists so jarring, you won’t know right from wrong.” –Tarryn Fisher, New York Times Bestselling Author
Twenty-four-year-old Charlotte Stahl would do anything for her older brother, Ian. After all, he’d done everything for her growing up.He played Burken with her—a hide-and-seek game they made up as kids.He comforted her when their mom deserted them. He raised her when their dad went to prison for murder. To Charlotte, Ian is the only reason she’s still alive—he’s her rock. So when Ian asks her to play Burken in the isolated woods of Cadillac, Michigan, Charlotte feels she could use the nostalgia and agrees. Burken—it’s the one thing that never changes…
…until Ian threatens to kill her in the middle of the game.
More than the rules have changed as Brother turns to Predator, Sister turns to Prey, and she’s navigating the forests of Northern Michigan on foot with nothing but the clothes—and a target—on her back.
If Charlotte wants to stay alive, she knows she has to untangle the web of her haunting past to find out where things went wrong, and at what point she lost sight of reality. With no other choice but to reopen old wounds—and with Ian hot on her trail—Charlotte learns that sometimes evil has to manifest in order for good to succeed. Which makes her wonder…
Is Ian really a monster? Or her savior?

The day I turned nineteen, I expected to gain what little freedom I could within the restrictions of my bank account and the hallucinations that had haunted me for the last six years. I expected to drive away from a life that had been dictated by the tragedy of others and shaped by the care of strangers. I expected to be alone. Actually, I relished the idea of being alone. Instead, I found fear I thought I’d overcome. Uncertainty I thought I’d painstakingly planned away. And terror that was more real than anything I’d ever hallucinated before. I’d seen terrible, fantastical, and utterly impossible things … but not love. Not until I saw him.

Riley Walker is one of the world’s best covert operatives, employed by a top-secret sector of the U.S. government known only as the Agency. Highly skilled and lethal in a fight, Riley is fiercely independent and adamant that she work alone after the mysterious death of her partner in an assignment gone wrong.

All that changes when she’s thrust onto a new assignment investigating the deaths of twenty-seven Agency operatives. Forced to work with twelve-year Agency veteran Scott Hunter–a stickler for following orders and a loner by nature–Riley doesn’t get a chance to protest before she and her new partner are passed to a sector of the Agency that they never knew existed. As they investigate the murders, Riley and Scott learn that there’s more to the Agency than they ever suspected.

They discover the existence of monsters right out of their wildest dreams.

A woman with an extraordinary mind and a dark past demanding revenge. 17 planets divided into four factions whose leaders forgot their inhabitants all arrived from the same place: Planet Earth. A threat that could turn a tool that saves everyone’s life into the worst imaginable nightmare. Elizabeth, a chameleonic and seductive woman, is the only one who can make a difference, but her uniqueness weighs on her shoulders like the world weighs on Atlas’ shoulders.

These are just some of the ingredients of this novel where action scenes alternate with political ones and the relationship between the many characters, as much as the suffering and the claustrophobic anguish, alternate with the human need for love and loyalty. All seasoned with a drops of eroticism and a hint of humour.

From Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times bestselling author of The Homewreckers and The Santa Suit, comes a novella celebrating love and the warm, glittering charm of the holiday season.

When fall rolls around, it’s time for Kerry Tolliver to leave her family’s Christmas tree farm in the mountains of North Carolina for the wilds of New York City to help her gruff older brother & his dog, Queenie, sell the trees at the family stand on a corner in Greenwich Village. Sharing a tiny vintage camper and experiencing Manhattan for the first time, Kerry’s ready to try to carve out a new corner for herself.

In the weeks leading into Christmas, Kerry quickly becomes close with the charming neighbors who live near their stand. When an elderly neighbor goes missing, Kerry will need to combine her country know-how with her newly acquired New York knowledge to protect the new friends she’s come to think of as family,

And complicating everything is Patrick, a single dad raising his adorable, dragon-loving son Austin on this quirky block. Kerry and Patrick’s chemistry is undeniable, but what chance does this holiday romance really have?

Filled with family ties, both rekindled and new, and sparkling with Christmas magic, Bright Lights, Big Christmas delivers everything Mary Kay Andrews fans adore, all tied up in a hilarious, romantic gem of a novel.

In 1930s Mississippi, Mary Johnson hates the oppressive heat, working on her family farm, and having to attend her minister father’s church several times a week. But she loves Mason Carter, her musician boyfriend. Both fantasize about living the high life up north in the big city.

When William Bevers, a wealthy old preacher, comes to court her, he promises a life of luxury along with money and status for her family. Mary wants nothing to do with him, but her parents decide for her. Determined to avoid a forced marriage, Mary elopes with Mason to the bright lights of Chicago.

But life up north is not the dream they expected. Multiple tragedies push Mary to the brink, and she soon returns home to the very world she tried so desperately to escape.

Too numb to stave off the pressure from her father, Mary considers accepting William’s proposal. But she soon realizes that life as the preacher’s wife might not provide the safety and security she craves.

October 2023 TBR


Indie Authors:

Reading Challenges:

Buzzword Reading Challenge 2023 (magic-related words: magic in the title or related words. Example: Witch, Charm, Conjure, Spell…etc.)

2023 Sami Parker Reads Title Challenge (a book with a double or triple number in the title: Any number between 10 and 999 count)

Cover Scavenger Hunt 2023 (a star)

The StoryGraph Reads the World (Trinidad and Tobago)
The StoryGraph’s Genre Challenge (a travel memoir)
Beat the Backlist 2023 (set or inspired by the 1700s or 1800s)
Scavenger Hunt (a book you had to read in school that you want to reread)
Popsugar Reading Challenge 2023 (a romance with a fat lead)
2023 TBR Toppler (A 5-star prediction)
2023 Monthly Themes (October—Thrilltober)
2023 Reading Challenge (A Green Book: either a green cover or green in the title)
2023 ABC Challenge (J)
Romanceopoly 2023! (romantic suspense set in a country that you don’t live in)
2023 TBR Prompts (a book about mental health)

September 2023 Wrap-Up

Here is what I read/posted/won/received/bought in September.

As always, let me know if you have read any of these books and (if you did) what you thought of them.

Books I Read:

Books I got from NetGalley:

Books I got from Authors/Indie Publishers:

Giveaway Winners

Books Reviewed:

A Cold Highland Wind by Tasha Alexander—review coming October 3rd (4 stars)

Guardians of Dawn: Zahara by S. Jae-Jones—review here (5 stars)

The Breakaway by Jennifer Weiner—review here (4 stars)

Death by a Thousand Sips by Gretchen Rue—review here (4 stars)

Have You Seen My Sister by Kirsty McKay—review here (3 stars)

Night of the Living Queers by Shelly Page—review here (4 stars)

A Dragon’s Dyne by Brett Salter—review here (4 stars)

The Blue, Beautiful World by Karen Lord—review here (2 stars)

Seams Deadly by Maggie Bailey—review here (3 stars)

Fly with Me by Andie Burke—review here (4 stars)

In Darkness: The Werewolf by L. Diane Wolfe—review here (4 stars)

Scenes of the Crime by Jilly Gagnon—review here (3 stars)

Thank You for Sharing by Rachel Runya Katz—review here (4 stars)

The Sanctuary Motel by Alan Orloff—review coming October 24th, 2023 (4 stars)

Dreambound by Dan Frey—review here (4 stars)

Dream Shatter by Ann Hunter—review here (4 stars)

Dream Runner by Ann Hunter—review here (4 stars)

Sandymancer by David Edison—review here (3 stars)

The Golden Gate by Amy Chua—review here (4 stars)

Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas by Vicki Delany—review here (4 stars)

Dream Watcher by Ann Hunter—review here (4 stars)

Dream Giver by Ann Hunter—review here (4 stars)

Dream Rising by Ann Hunter—review here (4 stars)

Reading Challenges:


2023 TBR Toppler (a book by a LGBTIA+ author)—One Last Stop

2023 Monthly Themes (August: A book set in Asia)—Diffusion

2023 Reading Challenge (a book in your least read genre)—They Called Us Enemy

2023 ABC Challenge (H)—Heartbreaker

Books I bought:

Falling to Centerpieces by Ellie Cahill

Grim’s Little Reaper by Raisa Greywood

Bowled Over Americano by Carolyn Arnold

The Devil I Don’t Know by L.K. Shaw

Marshal in Petticoats by Paty Jager

A Touch of Midnight by Lara Adrian

True Colors by Thea Harrison

Double Crossed by Ally Carter

Salt in the Wound by Sierra Simone

Show Me How to Love You by Jasmine Haynes

Revenge by Jasmine Haynes

Second Chance Ranch by Jenna Hendricks

Finding Love in Montana by Jenna Hendricks

The Ghost Files by Apryl Baker

A Little Wilder by Serena Bell

The Wolf and the Witch by Claire Delacroix

Flirting with the Playboy by Gia Stevens

In All My Wishes by Ciara Knight

Free Fall by Brad Thor

Epilogue II: A Bonus Chapter to Hidden Order by Brad Thor

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

The Witch Sisters by Alma Katsu

Lover’s Knot by Karen Chance

On Basilisk Station by David Weber

Captive in the Dark by C.J. Roberts

Red at Night by Katie McGarry

December 2021 Wrap Up

I know this is late but my kids were on winter vacation and I decided that I was going to unplug for 2 weeks (well 3 because my 16-year-old tested out of her End of Course testing and she was home). Unfortunately, that did carry over to my reading. I read nothing from December 13th to January 3rd. So, I am very behind on NetGalley ARC’s. Not so much with Indie authors, though. I have those all caught up.

I am behind with reviews. As of right now (and counting the book I am reading), I am behind 4 books and they are all NetGalley. My requests from indie authors have slowed down (I have had two all of December). I have also stopped requesting from NetGalley (as I said in my last Wrap-Up) but still accepted 9 books (yikes!!).

I plan on reading my little head off the next few days. It should be easy with the kids in school and my housework done early in the morning (my 8-year-old is in school by 8:10 and I am done cleaning by 9:30). So wish me luck!!

As always, please let me know if you have read any of these books and what you have thought about them!!

Books I got from NetGalley

Summer Nights with a Cowboy by Caitlin Crews

Quantum Girl Theory by Erin Kate Ryan

Lucy Checks In by Dee Ernst

The Stars Between Us by Cristin Terrill

Stay Awake by Megan Goldin

The Date From Hell by Gwenda Bond

Together We Burn by Isabel Ibanez

The Favor by Nora Murphy

Never Broken by Lori Duffy Foster (This will be in under Books I got from Author’s/Indie Publishers also)

Books I got from Authors/Indie Publishers

Never Broken by Lori Duffy Foster (author asked me to review and sent me a NetGalley link)

Shadow Guard by Reily Garrett (book isn’t on Goodreads yet)

Rupture State by M.B. Bartkowski

Books Read and Reviewed

Heard It in a Love Song by Tracey Garvis Graves (review here)

The First Christmas: A Story of New Beginnings by Stephen Mitchell (review here)

Spies Never Swoon by M. Taylor Christensen (review here)

Glory Unbound by Deborah L. King (review here)

Masters’ Promise by Jamie Schulz (review here)

Diary of an Angry Young Man by Rishi Vora (review here)

Golem by P.D. Alleva (review here)

The Secret of the Rai Zamindars: An Aalo & Adhir Mystery by Tanmoy Bhattacharjee (review here)

Liar: Memoir of a Haunting by E.F. Schraeder (review here)

Silent Depths by Reily Garrett (review here)

The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale (review here)

WWW Wednesday: December 8th, 2021


WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


I have finished my Christmas shopping (except stocking stuffers and a couple of smaller gifts for Miss R’s riding instructor, her best friend, and Miss B’s friends) and I have wrapped the gifts. It took me 2 1/2 hours on Monday, but I did it. The look on the kids’ faces when they realized their gifts were wrapped was awesome!!

Miss R isn’t having a good time in school. Academically, she’s doing fine: All S’s with zero behavior issues. But she is being bullied by a girl in her class. This started back in October when I was told that Miss R and this girl were swearing and talking about inappropriate things during recess. Miss R did get in trouble for that and I told her that she needed to tell this girl that I know and Miss R can’t talk like that anymore. It did stop but the girl turned around and started making fun of Miss R. Calling her fat and ugly and getting the other girls in the friend group to do the same thing. She also would openly mock her in class when Miss R would talk about her riding lessons (I heard this from the teacher). She told everyone in the class that they couldn’t be friends with Miss R (no one except for 1 other girl listened) and was making her life miserable. It all came to a head when she told Miss R that she would be her friend but only if she bought her stuff. So, Miss R went and bought her $40 worth of stuff at the bookfair. That is on top of Miss R buying her stuff at lunch and draining her lunch account each week. That is when I said enough is enough and talked to the teacher.

Miss R no longer talks to this girl. But this girl goes out of her way to try and get Miss R in trouble. Yesterday is a good example. They were playing a Christmas version of tag during PE. This girl kept tagging Miss R out and kept saying “I hate you. You’re ugly. No one likes you.” Then she had a friend tell on Miss R when Miss R stuck up for herself. But, the PE teacher and the classroom teacher overheard everything and the girl/her friend got in trouble. But Miss R had to shake hands with them and apologize to them? I don’t get it. And the counselor at school is a joke. It took her 2 weeks to even talk to Miss R and according to what Miss R said, she blew her off. I am a big believer in letting my kids sort things out themselves but Miss R is hating to go to school now. She is also telling me that she is ugly and has no friends. I am starting to get angry and I am thinking of asking to set a meeting up between the parents and myself, with the principal or teacher moderating. But I don’t know how well it will go. I know the mother and she has a reputation at the school of thinking her child can do no wrong and she has got hysterical when something similar happened with her son. So, we’ll see….sigh.

Mr. Z had his winter concert last night. I was so proud of him. They played Dragonhunter by Richard Meyer with the high school orchestra and killed it. It was the first time the kids had played with the high school and they hadn’t rehearsed with them. So, as the orchestra teacher said, it was a Christmas miracle. She was crying at the end of the piece (she’s new and didn’t think they could pull it off).

Miss B is doing very well at school. She has EOC (End of Course) testing next week and she doesn’t have to show up for any of them. She tested out of ROTC and Public Safety. She already took her Civics test (and passed) and she has her Spanish 1 test on Friday. So, her school vacation starts next Monday….lol. She is keeping up with ROTC. She’s doing Colorguard at the basketball games (she has to go tonight) and will be doing the field trips. Since she isn’t taking ROTC next semester, she is going to continue to attend those events and she’ll be able to rank up.


I haven’t been reading a ton. If BK is home, then I don’t read or blog. He talks too much….lol. I plan on trying to catch up with my reading (I have two posts due on Monday and one due next Thursday) within the next couple of days.

I noticed that my plan with WordPress offers an email address for an extra $3.50 a month. So, I decided to get it. I will say that it is nice to have all of my blog emails and review requests in one spot.

I have been writing a lot of reviews, so don’t let the lack of posts fool you. I have posts scheduled for January and beyond. I am behind by one review (that was supposed to be written and published 2 weeks ago) and I am planning on writing it as soon as I get this meme up.

What I Recently Finished Reading:

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In The First Christmas, Stephen Mitchell brings the Nativity story to vivid life as never before. A narrative that is only sketched out in two Gospels becomes fully realized here with nuanced characters and a setting that reflects the culture of the time. Mitchell has suffused the birth of Jesus with a sense of beauty that will delight and astonish readers.

In this version, we see the world through the eyes of a Whitmanesque ox and a visionary donkey, starry-eyed shepherds and Zen-like wise men, each of them providing a unique perspective on a scene that is, in Western culture, the central symbol for good tidings of great joy. Rather than superimposing later Christian concepts onto the Annunciation and Nativity scenes, he imagines Mary and Joseph experiencing the angelic message as a young Jewish woman and man living in the year 4 bce might have experienced it, with terror, dismay, and ultimate acceptance. In this context, their yes becomes an act of great moral courage.

Readers of every background will be enchanted by this startlingly beautiful reimagining of the Christmas tale.

This is the book that I referenced above when I mentioned writing reviews. I am not sure how I felt about this book. The author threw a lot at you during the interludes. But I will say that it was interesting to read the story about Christ’s birth through the eyes of everyone there, including the ox and donkey.

What I am currently reading:

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Anna doesn’t care if the prince is charming. She only has to keep him alive.

Agent Anna Rivers is no stranger to sabotage, mysterious attacks, or high-speed car chases, so the assignment to protect Prince Leopold from an unknown foe should be no problem. But his constant flirting will definitely test her resolve to not get romantically involved on a mission. Can she save the prince and guard her heart at the same time?

If you enjoy kick-butt spy-girls and charming princes, you’ll love SPIES NEVER SWOON, the second book in the Banana Girls series where the romance is sweet and the suspense is cozy.

I am enjoying this book!! It is a cute read and can be read separately from the series. I am still trying to figure out who wants to hurt Leo. Not a lot of hints. Also, I love the hint of romance between Leo and Anna. I am about 50% (give or take) and should finish the book tonight.

What books I think I’ll read next:

The order I am going to read these books are indie author, indie author, indie author, NetGalley ARC, NetGalley ARC, NetGalley ARC, and NetGalley ARC. I do need to read the first three books. As I mentioned above, two are needed by Monday and one on Thursday. The NetGalley ARCs’, I am going to try to get read and reviewed but no promises!!

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IN THIS SECOND BOOK of the series, Glory Bishop has finally broken free of her mother’s oppressive grasp and is offered a new life by a seemingly altruistic Chicago socialite, but there may be more than good intentions at play. Against the advice of trusted friends and family, Glory chooses the protection of Malcom Porter, her adoring, much older, bad-boy-turned-minister fiancé.

Thrust into a gilded world of wealth, society and privilege, Glory struggles to overcome the guilt of loving her new life. The whirlwind of 1980s designer clothing, penthouse views, and first-class travel is a far cry from her former existence.

With this new reality, comes unexpected complications and temptations. As she struggles to remain true to herself and her fiancé, Glory wonders if she will ever truly feel at home in this new world. Follow Glory Bishop in her continuing search for freedom and independence, as she once again strives to be her own savior.
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He swore he’d protect her.
But can they ever trust each other enough to fall in love?

Bret Masters is as good as his word. Following through on his pledge to nurse back to health the woman who owns him, the rugged ranch-hand showers her with care while still guarding his heart. But as he spends hour after hour by her side, the stubborn cowboy feels his resistance crumbling.

Angel Aldridge fears she won’t recover. Seized by the horrors of her past, her handsome foreman is the only comfort she knows. But when a frightening incident results in an intimate confession, the curvy rancher worries she’s pushed him away for good.

Stung by Angel’s words, Bret struggles to believe love could ever be possible in this broken world. And with Angel’s enemy returning to exact revenge, she’s frightened she’ll never again feel her hero’s embrace.

With danger on its inevitable way, is this the end for the star-crossed couple?

Masters’ Promise is the steamy third book in The Angel Eyes futuristic dystopian cowboy romance series. If you like captivating characters, forbidden desire, and dark twists, then you’ll adore Jamie Schulz’s riveting read.

This book has a HFN ending with a slight cliffhanger that leads into Book 4 of the series. The books in this series must be read in order as the story builds with each book.

★Please note: Intended for mature audiences. Trigger warning. Reader discretion is advised.
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Raghav is an ordinary seven-year-old growing up on the ‘good’ side of Colaba in Bombay. His is a safe, protected world and he is kept well away from the ‘other’, darker side of Colaba, which nevertheless, holds a deep fascination for him with its colorful, busy alleys bustling with activity, people and mystery – the ‘real’ world as far he is concerned.

But life has other plans and Raghav’s entire world comes crashing down one day. In the space of a few crucial hours, his childish innocence is ripped away brutally, and he also loses the one person who may have made his world right again – his mother. That fateful day alters the course of his life and the ‘other’ side is the only place he can escape his now truly miserable home life and his bitter father who he resents more and more each day. He never tells even his closest friends about the horrific abuse he suffered the day his mother died, the day a fierce, burning anger took root in his very soul.

Now, 20 years later, all his peers and friends are settling down into jobs and the business of growing up. But Raghav is still trapped between his now suffocating relationship with his father, his own inability to find a job and make a life for himself and the painful memories of his childhood ordeal that still haunt him. And this is when he meets Rani one day, an orphan beggar girl who knows life on the streets of Mumbai, but not in the way Raghav does. He wants to ‘save’ Rani from the beggar mafia and give her a chance at a better life. His strong need to stand up for something, to truly help someone is fueled by the recent Nirbhaya gangrape case in New Delhi, that evokes painful memories of his own past trauma.

Set in Bombay in 1992 and Mumbai in 2012, and inspired by true events, Diary of an Angry Young Man is a coming-of-age urban drama that explores the complex layers of humanity. And the city that engenders them.
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A young woman in a vaudeville sister act must learn to forge her own path after her twin runs away to Hollywood in this richly immersive debut about love, family, and friendship.

Leaving was my sister’s choice. I would have to make my own.

All Harriet Szász has ever known is life onstage with her sister, Josie. As “The Sisters Sweet,” they pose as conjoined twins in a vaudeville act conceived of by their ambitious parents, who were once themselves theatrical stars. But after Josie exposes the family’s fraud and runs away to Hollywood, Harriet must learn to live out of the spotlight—and her sister’s shadow. Striving to keep her struggling family afloat, she molds herself into the perfect daughter. As Josie’s star rises in California, the Szászes fall on hard times and Harriet begins to form her first relationships outside her family. She must decide whether to honor her mother, her father, or the self she’s only beginning to get to know.

Full of long-simmering tensions, buried secrets, questionable saviors, and broken promises, this is a story about how much we are beholden to others and what we owe ourselves. Layered and intimate, The Sisters Sweet heralds the arrival of an accomplished new voice in fiction.
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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes a deeply moving novel about the resilience of the human spirit in a moment of crisis.

Diana O’Toole is perfectly on track. She will be married by thirty, done having kids by thirty-five, and move out to the New York City suburbs, all while climbing the professional ladder in the cutthroat art auction world. She’s not engaged just yet, but she knows her boyfriend, Finn, a surgical resident, is about to propose on their romantic getaway to the Galápagos—days before her thirtieth birthday. Right on time.

But then a virus that felt worlds away has appeared in the city, and on the eve of their departure, Finn breaks the news: It’s all hands on deck at the hospital. He has to stay behind. You should still go, he assures her, since it would be a shame for all of their nonrefundable trip to go to waste. And so, reluctantly, she goes.

Almost immediately, Diana’s dream vacation goes awry. The whole island is now under quarantine, and she is stranded until the borders reopen. Completely isolated, she must venture beyond her comfort zone. Slowly, she carves out a connection with a local family when a teenager with a secret opens up to Diana, despite her father’s suspicion of outsiders.

Diana finds herself examining her relationships, her choices, and herself—and wondering if when she goes home, she too will have evolved into someone completely different.
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Dare Me meets Black Swan and Luckiest Girl Alive in a captivating, voice-driven debut novel about a trio of ballerinas who meet as students at the Paris Opera Ballet School.

Fourteen years ago, Delphine abandoned her prestigious soloist spot at the Paris Opera Ballet for a new life in St. Petersburg––taking with her a secret that could upend the lives of her best friends, fellow dancers Lindsay and Margaux. Now 36 years old, Delphine has returned to her former home and to the legendary Palais Garnier Opera House, to choreograph the ballet that will kickstart the next phase of her career––and, she hopes, finally make things right with her former friends. But Delphine quickly discovers that things have changed while she’s been away…and some secrets can’t stay buried forever.

Moving between the trio’s adolescent years and the present day, The Ballerinas explores the complexities of female friendship, the dark drive towards physical perfection in the name of artistic expression, the double-edged sword of ambition and passion, and the sublimated rage that so many women hold inside––all culminating in a twist you won’t see coming, with magnetic characters you won’t soon forget.

Glory Bishop by Deborah L. King

Glory Bishop by [King, Deborah L.]

5 Stars

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing

Date of publication: June 4th, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Where you can find Glory Bishop: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book synopsis:

Glory Bishop lives her life in pieces. At work and with her friends, she reads novels, speaks her mind, and enjoys slow dances and stolen kisses with her boyfriend, JT. But at home, Glory follows strict rules and second-guesses every step. Though she dreams of going to college and living like a normal teenage girl, her abusive mother has other ideas.

When JT leaves to join the navy, Glory is left alone and heartsick. The preacher’s son, Malcolm Porter, begins to shower her with lavish gifts, and her mother pushes Glory to accept his advances. Glory is torn between waiting for true love with JT or giving in to the overzealous Malcolm.

When a stranger attacks Glory on the street, Malcolm steps in to rescue her, and her interest in him deepens. But the closer she gets to him, the more controlling he becomes. Glory must eventually decide whether to rely on others or to be her own savior.

My Review:

I was surprised at Glory Bishop. I went into the book, thinking that it was going to be a heavy drama full of violence. Instead, what I read blew me away.

Glory Bishop does start slowly. While I was aggravated by it at first, I came to appreciate it. The author uses those slow first chapters to build up the main characters and the world they resided. That world and character building continued throughout the book. By the end, each of the main characters were multi-layered characters.

I liked that the author showed how easy it was for someone to get into an abusive relationship. I liked that the author also showed the many facets of abuse. She explained how the abuser could integrate themselves with family and friends. I felt bad for Glory. I was mentally shouting at her, “Listen to Herschel, stay away from him!!” But, once she got the bracelets, I knew that she was done for. It would be impossible for her to get away.

I loved Glory’s character. Seeing what she overcame brought me to tears at points in the book. I wished that she could act like the 17-year-old she was. Instead, she had to act in different ways for different people. It got exhausting after a while.

I was “eh” with Malcolm during the book. I couldn’t understand why a grown man wanted a 17-year-old girl. Then it came to me. He wanted someone he could control.

I loved Herschel. He tried to help Glory as much as he could. He gave her the unconditional love that her mother couldn’t or wouldn’t. His last talk with her sent shivers up my spine. Talk about foreshadowing!!

Religion was an integral part of Glory Bishop. It wasn’t shoved down my throat. Instead, it was interwoven with the plotline, and I loved it!!

I liked how Glory Bishop ended, but at the same time, I was a little disappointed. I will always associate the words “I’ll give you back to God” with this book. Chilling. I was disappointed because I think I know what Glory was going to do at the end of the book. I wish there were some sort of epilogue that either proved me wrong or validated me. But then again, I understood why the author ended the book the way she did.

I would give Glory Bishop an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Glory Bishop I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**