Bookish Travels—July 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, Greece, France

States I visited the most: New York, South Carolina, Kentucky, California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Washington, Hawaii, Nevada

Cities I visited the most: New York City, Athens (Greece), Hamlin, Paris (France), Seattle, Los Angeles, Boston


India

Asam, New Dehli

United States

Washington, D.C.
Vermont
New York (New York City, Central Park)
Montana (Plentywood, Missoula), New York (New York City), Washington (Seattle)
Kentucky (Hamlin)
Connecticut (New Castle), Texas
Pennsylvania (Pittsburg)
New Hampshire (Nashua), South Carolina (Parris Island)
Kentucky (Paris)
New York (New York City), Nevada (Las Vegas), California (San Fransisco), Illinois (Chicago), Minnesota (St. Paul)
South Carolina (Greenbelt, Charleston, Beaufort), Florida (Jacksonville)
Kentucky (Lexington, Hamlin), New York (Queens)
New York (New York City), Michigan, California (Los Angeles)
Mississippi (Brant), New York (New York City), Pennsylvania (Woodland)
Louisiana (New Orleans)
Massachusetts (Meadowbrook, Revere)
New Hampshire (Moonville), Massachusetts (Boston)
Washington (Seattle, Ridley Falls)
California (Los Angeles, Malibu), Hawaii (Oahu)
Oregon (Cannon Beach)
Massachusetts (Boston)
Massachusetts (Cape Cod), New York (Newburgh), Hawaii
Washington D.C., California (Los Angeles), Nevada
New York (Norfolk Falls)

Iraq

Baghdad

Ederra


Dystopia United States

Republic

Iceland

Frjosom

Crete

Knossos

Greece

Athens
Athens
Aegean Islands (Samothrace, Mykonos)

China

Hong Kong

Philippines

Boracay

England

Chelsea
London (Soho Square), Glastonbury, Chelmsford, Hawkhurst
London (Mayfair)

France

Paris
Paris
Paris

Solis


French Polynesia

Bora Bora

Mexico

Mexico City


Afghanistan

Kabul, Herat

Sweden


Puerto Rico

Vieques (Island), San Juan, Esperanza, Isabel Segunda

Pakistan


Borneo

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading—July 17th, 2023

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at The Book Date.

Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kid-litfocus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle-grade novels, young adult novels, or anything in those genres – join them.


Personal

I know that I have been MIA for this post for a while. But I do have a good explanation. First, BK took a vacation, and we weren’t home for 90% of the week of July 4th. We would get up and hit the ground running. The next week, the girls had dentist and hair appointments, Snickers (my old girl) got her Solensia shot, plus she was given a once over by the vet because Miss R felt a lump (Snickers was very grumpy and didn’t want that so she’s getting sedated next month), and Mr. Z had an emergency orthodontist appointment. Add to that, there is some sort of URI going around with my other cats, which meant taking them all to the vet (at different times, of course), and I was barely able to sit down and type out reviews.

Before I get into the rest of the post, I want to bring something up. When I logged onto my blog this morning, I was greeted with some of the nastiest, vile comments I have ever seen in my ten plus years of blogging (and I have seen a lot). I will make this perfectly clear to trolls: Your comments are seen by nobody but me. I have learned a few things in my blogging experience (remember, 10 years here), and one was how to moderate comments. I also want to make it crystal clear that my blog is a place for people to feel safe. I could care less about your sexual orientation, gender, political affiliation (for those in the US), or color. I treat people the same regardless. And yes, that message bothered me only because of its hatred against the LGBTQIA+ community. Bigotry isn’t a good look on anyone, and before accusing someone of being a sheeple and being brainwashed, have a good, long look in the mirror. Also: My kids and SO are real. I chose not to put their identities out there because of shit like this.

Stepping down from my soapbox, here is the rest of the post.

The dishes I made a few weeks ago were weirdly evenly spread out with likes, neutral, and dislikes. My kids hated the enchiladas, loved the slow cooker cowboy baked beans, and were neutral on the southwestern chicken parmesan and rice. This week, I am making:

  1. Cilantro-Lime Chicken
  2. Diner-Style Patty Melts
  3. Speedy Skillet Beef and Broccoli

So, that’s my catch-up.

Anything exciting or different happen this week? Make anything good this past week or plan on making it this week? Read anything new? Read anything on this list? Let me know!!


What I am Reading Now:

This summer, meet your neighbors.

The residents of the exclusive cul-de-sac on Alton Road are entangled in a web of secrets and scandal utterly unknown to the outside world, and even to each other.

On the night of the annual Summer block party, there has been a murder.

But, who did it and why takes readers back one year earlier, as rivalries and betrayals unfold—discovering that the real danger lies within their own block and nothing—and no one—is ever as it seems.


Books I plan on reading later this week:

Montserrat has always been overlooked. She’s a talented sound editor, but she’s left out of the boys’ club running the film industry in ’90s Mexico City. And she’s all but invisible to her best friend, Tristán, a charming if faded soap opera star, though she’s been in love with him since childhood.

Then Tristán discovers his new neighbor is the cult horror director Abel Urueta, and the legendary auteur claims he can change their lives—even if his tale of a Nazi occultist imbuing magic into highly volatile silver nitrate stock sounds like sheer fantasy. The magic film was never finished, which is why, Urueta swears, his career vanished overnight. He is cursed.

Now the director wants Montserrat and Tristán to help him shoot the missing scene and lift the curse . . . but Montserrat soon notices a dark presence following her, and Tristán begins seeing the ghost of his ex-girlfriend.

As they work together to unravel the mystery of the film and the obscure occultist who once roamed their city, Montserrat and Tristán may find that sorcerers and magic are not only the stuff of movies.

A music critic stuck in a spiral of epic proportions targets her teenage crush for a career comeback and a chance at revenge. What could possibly go wrong?

Sammy Espinoza’s life is a raging dumpster fire. Her desperate attempt to win back her singer ex-girlfriend has landed her in hot water at work, and she has one last chance before her editor cuts her column. Luckily, Sammy has a plan to redeem herself, but it won’t be easy.

Rumor has it that Max Ryan, the former rock god, is secretly recording his first-ever solo album years after he dramatically quit performing. And it just so happens that he and Sammy have Right before Max got his big break, he and Sammy spent an unforgettable night together.

Exclusive access to Max’s new music would guarantee Sammy’s professional comeback and, even better, give her the opportunity to serve some long-awaited revenge for his traumatic ghosting.

But Max lives in Ridley Falls, Washington, and Sammy has history there as a family that never wanted her and a million unanswered questions. Going back would mean confronting it all—but what else does she have to lose?

Katharine Firestone is a bit of a mess.

Between an acting career that’s never quite made lift-off to stardom, a pathetic love life of online-dating-app losers, and a maxed-out balance on every one of her credit cards, things can’t get much worse. So, when she’s plucked from relative obscurity to land a lead role in Hollywood’s next big blockbuster, Kat is sure she’s finally on the right track.

Until she meets her co-star, Grayson Dunn… and all her plans are completely derailed.

Grayson is everything you’d expect the hottest actor alive to be — charming, disarming, and cocky as hell. As their characters slowly spiral into love on screen, Kat struggles to keep herself from falling for real. She knows handing Grayson her heart and expecting him not to break it would be the biggest mistake of her life. Yet the deeper she’s immersed in his glamorous world, the more blurred the boundaries between scripted affection and sincere passion become… and the harder it is to deny that their on-camera chemistry has crescendoed into a behind-the-scenes love affair…

What happens when you fall for someone who’s guaranteed to shatter you into pieces? Do you walk away? Or do you let him break you because, even broken, there’s simply no way you can’t stay?

THE MONDAY GIRL is a messy contemporary romance about a mixed up girl who falls for the wrong boy. It is the first part of a duet. The second installment, THE SOMEDAY GIRL, will be released a few weeks later, in early 2017. Each installment is approximately 95,000 words. Recommended for readers ages 17+ due to strong language, sexual situations, drug use, and other mature elements.

“I never thought I would be in this situation, fighting for survival in a world turned upside-down. But here I am, doing everything I can to keep my daughters safe in this apocalyptic dawn. It’s hard to believe that just a few weeks ago, our biggest worries were school, soccer practice, and what to make for dinner.

Now, we’re living in constant fear. The pack of abandoned dogs we’ve taken in helps, but it’s a dangerous world out there. We’ve had to maintain a charade to keep looters at bay, by making our home, and the others on our street look like still occupied by our old neighbors. I live in fear every second of the day that someone will catch on. So far the ruse has worked, but for how long?”

WWW Wednesday: July 12th, 2023

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?


What I am currently reading:

“Happily Ever After” is a total scam, but at least this time the princess is the one controlling the grift–until her true love arrives and threatens to ruin the whole scheme. Intrigue, magic, and wit abound in this Cinderella fairytale reimagining, perfect for fans of Heather Walter and Naomi Novik.

I’m not who you think I am.

My transformation from a poor, orphaned scullery maid into the enchantingly mysterious lady who snagged the heart of the prince did not happen–as the rumors insisted–in a magical metamorphosis of pumpkins and glass slippers. On the first evening of the ball, I didn’t meekly help my “evil” stepmother and stepsisters primp and preen or watch forlornly out the window as their carriage rolled off toward the palace. I had other preparations to make.

My stepsisters and I had been trained for this–to be the cleverest in the room, to be quick with our hands and quicker with our lies. We were taught how to get everything we want in this world, everything men always kept for themselves: power, wealth, and prestige. And with a touchingly tragic past and the help of some highly illegal spells, I would become a princess, secure our fortunes, and we would all live happily ever after.

But there’s always more to the story. With my magic running out, war looming, and a handsome hostage prince–the wrong prince–distracting me from my true purpose with his magnetic charm and forbidden flirtations, I’m in danger of losing control of the delicate balance I’ve created…and that could prove fatal.

There’s so much more riding on this than a crown.


What I recently finished reading:

When Tessa Talman first meets Simon Fremont, not only is she attracted to him, she’s intrigued by how different their lives are. He’s a dedicated scientist, practical, pragmatic, and grounded. She’s a head-in-the-clouds romance author. As their relationship grows, they meet in places around the world, while continuing to live in different countries.Though their feelings for each other deepen, their priorities remain the same. Simon is in a hurry to be financially sound and settle down, but Tessa is enjoying her freedom and newfound success. Neither is willing to give in, but as each goodbye gets harder, Tessa begins to wonder whether fame is the path to happiness, or if she has everything she needs in Simon.Just as Tessa finds the courage to go after her own happily ever after, the unthinkable happens, separating them in ways she never imagined.To move forward, she must let go of the past and determine once and for all if love is truly more powerful than the pain of goodbye.


What I think I will read next:

Jodie Slaughter’s latest rom-com, Play to Win , is a sizzling romance where a winning lottery ticket is meant to be a new start but instead becomes a second chance at love.

Miriam Butler’s life is going nowhere in the slowest, most excruciating way possible. Stuck in the same barely-paying job she’s had since she was sixteen and spending every night sleeping in the spare twin bed in her mother’s house, her existence might be hilarious if it wasn’t so bleak. One trip to her favorite corner store upends everything when she finds herself the winner of a Mega Millions Lottery Jackpot. Unfortunately, not even life-altering roses come without their painful thorns. Hers just so happen to be in the form of an estranged husband who has the right to claim his share of her money.

It’s been eight years since Leo Vaughn has had a conversation with his wife. When she calls out of the blue, practically begging him to come back to Greenbelt, the last thing he expects her to tell him when he gets there is that she’s come into a whole heap of money. She offers him a life-changing proposition of his own. Take a lump sum, finally sign the divorce papers, and be done with her for good. Only, a forever without her is the last thing Leo wants. So he gives a proposition of his own. One that won’t cost her nearly as many millions, but will buy him the time to do the one thing he’s been hungry to do since he left — win her back.

When Ellery moved to New York with her boyfriend, she thought they’d live happily ever after in their small New York apartment. She never thought he’d pack his bags and leave because he “needed space.” With her newfound single status and fear of being alone, Ellery buries herself in her artwork and paintings until one night she helps a mysterious intoxicated stranger get home safely. Little did she know the mysterious stranger is none other than CEO and millionaire Connor Black. After finding Ellery in his kitchen the next morning and assuming she broke his #1 rule about sleepovers, he becomes intrigued, not only by her stubbornness and defiance, but by her kindness.

Connor Black, emotionally dead and damaged, that stemmed from a personal tragedy, made a vow to never love or fall in love with a woman, until Ellery Lane walked into his life by accident. After she opens up and shows him her world, Connor starts to feel emotions and feelings he never knew existed. Despite the rumors and warnings regarding Connor Black and his use and misuse of women, Ellery finds herself being drawn into his world.

Ellery knows they can never be together because she is harboring a deep secret that could destroy Connor emotionally forever.

Join Connor and Ellery as they embark on a journey of courage, love and strength. Will it be enough to save them?

Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly.

Amalia Graeme, abused by her mother for most of her life, longs to escape her desolate hometown and fall in love. Contemplating her loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction she’s developed for an older man, Amalia faces life-altering tragedies.

Brianna Porter, a sassy, angst-ridden teenager raised in New York City, yearns to find her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. Desperate to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, Brianna accidentally finds out a shocking truth about her missing parent.

Set in alternating chapters two decades apart, the parallels between their lives and the unavoidable collision that is bound to happen is revealed. FATHER FIGURE is an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense.

Getting bitten by a vampire in New Orleans is about as cliché as it gets, but Aurora Hedvige isn’t in a position to complain.

In the last week, her life has gone from bad, to worse. Now she’s lunging for her best friend’s throat, desiring things she shouldn’t, and craving something she can’t admit out loud. Her last-ditch effort takes her to the self-proclaimed voodoo queen of the French Quarter, but what Aurora thinks is the end of her problems—is only the beginning.

Carver Marceau has lived in a world of misery since the day his mortal years ceased and his immortal life began. He’s Kresova. An ancient race of vampires ruled by a deadly queen bent on keeping her rein at all costs. Sent on a mission to resolve a recent string of rogue vampires, Carver’s journey leads him to Aurora.

Neither of them expected the intense bond that forms between them, nor the revelations they uncover.

Carver discovers that Aurora is one of the Dria. The first of three fated harem queens, destined to return the balance to the Kresova. With the help of friends, and enemies turned allies, they’ll upend the cruel queen’s reign—if they can just survive long enough.

Alex’s racing career starts with Venus Nights, the filly she helped birth into the world, and a head case mare named Florescent Cheerio who Brooke has claimed.

When things go missing around the North Oak barns, Alex is sure she is being stalked. What’s more is Venus Galaxies has foaled twins, fighting for their lives to survive. Can they beat the odds?

This summer, meet your neighbors.

The residents of the exclusive cul-de-sac on Alton Road are entangled in a web of secrets and scandal utterly unknown to the outside world, and even to each other.

On the night of the annual Summer block party, there has been a murder.

But, who did it and why takes readers back one year earlier, as rivalries and betrayals unfold—discovering that the real danger lies within their own block and nothing—and no one—is ever as it seems.

Gaia Gill is the last person in the world anyone would expect to go missing. Beautiful, athletic, and recently accepted to a prestigious college, she has everything to look forward to—but the night of her going-away party at the Moon Mountain ski resort, she disappears.

Gaia’s younger sister Esme is supposed to be flying back to England with her family after the party, but she can’t leave with Gaia missing—especially because nobody remembers Gaia leaving the party. Or if they do, they’re not saying. Everyone at the lodge has their own secrets: the little rich girl, the ex-boyfriend, the ski instructor, the failed reality star.

Esme’s out of her depth searching the dark, dangerous forests and icy slopes of Moon Mountain, until she teams up with a local boy who promises to help her. The clock is ticking, and it’s down to Esme to piece the clues together and work out who—if anybody—is telling the truth.

July 2023 TBR

Books for Review:

The Voinico’s Slayer by Sallie Cochren (Not cover yet)


The StoryGraph Reading Challenge books

Buzzword Reading Challenge 2023—weather-related words in the title
2023 Sami Parker Reads Title Challenge—a book that has a day of the week in the title
Cover Scavenger Hunt 2023—Sky
The StoryGraph Reads the World 2023—Pakistan
The StoryGraph’s Genre Challenge—A fantasy novel written by an author of colour
Beat the Backlist 2023—an author writing under a pseudonym
Scavenger Hunt TBR Book Challenge 2023—find a book with the same exact pages as the last prompt in the challenge and read it.
Scavenger Hunt—A book translated from another language
Popsugar Reading Challenge 2023—A book with “Girl” in the title
2023 TBR Toppler—A book over 500 pages
2023 Monthly Theme—Books in the heat
2023 Reading challenge—A yellow book: either a yellow cover or the title is in yellow
2023 ABC Challenge—G
Romanceopoly 2023!—Young Adult/New Adult friends to lovers
2023 TBR Prompts—Longest book on my TBR

Goodreads Monday: The Block Party by Jamie Day

This is a weekly meme where anyone can choose and highlight a random book from their Goodreads TBR. This meme was formerly featured on LaurensPageTurners and was taken over by Budget Tales Book Blog.


On the night of the annual Summer block party, the Meadowbrook community Facebook page lights up with posts reporting sirens descending on the desirable and exclusive cul-de-sac neighborhood on Alton Road. Bit by bit, the comments trickle in, some taking pleasure in their neighbors’ misfortune and others showing concern. The truth eventually comes out. It’s not an accident, or a drowning, or a fire, as some had predicted. For the first time in forty years, there’s been a murder in Meadowbrook.

The residents of Alton Road—The Fox family, the core of the neighborhood but each with secrets of their own; the Adair Family, the seemingly perfect all-American family; the Thompson Family, on the brink of an explosive divorce; The Kumars, the mysterious “new neighbors”; Brooke Bailey, the “Black Widow”; and Gus Fisher, the quirky salesman— are entangled in a web of secrets and scandal unbeknownst to the outside world and even each other.

Who was murdered at the block party? Who committed the murder? And why? As the night unfolds, the residents will discover that the real danger lies within their own block and nothing—and no one—is ever as it seems. Propulsive and layered, THE BLOCK PARTY will keep you guessing until the very last page.

April 2023 Wrap Up

Here is what I read/posted in April.

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:

ARC from author
KU Purchase—No Review
Free Kindle Purchase—No Review
Free Kindle Purchase—No Review
Non-ARC from Novel Cause
Non-ARC from Novel Cause
ARC from Sourcebooks Casablanca
ARC from author, Level Best Books, IBPA, Member’s Titles
Free Kindle Purchase—No review
Free Kindle Purchase—No Review
Non-ARC from author
KU Purchase—No Review
Free Amazon Prime Reads—No Review
KU Purchase—No Review
KU Purchase—No Review
KU Purchase—No Review
ARC from St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books
ARC from St. Martin’s Press
Non-ARC from Author
Non-ARC from Author
KU Purchase—No Review
KU Purchase—No Review
KU Purchase—No Review
ARC from St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks
ARC from Sourcebooks Fire
Non ARC from author
Free Kindle Purchase—No Review
Kindle Purchase—No Review
KU Purchase—No Review
Free Kindle Purchase—No Review
ARC from author
ARC from Crooked Lane Books
ARC from Sourcebooks Casablanca
ARC from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books
ARC from Random House Publishing Group – Random House, Dial Press Trade Paperback

Books I got from NetGalley:

Read Now from St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books
Wish granted from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam
Wish Granted from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam
Read Now from Tor Publishing Group, Tor Books
Wish Granted from Sourcebooks Casablanca
Wished Granted from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Delacorte Press
Invite from Random House Publishing Group – Random House, Random House Trade Paperbacks
SMP Influencer Program pick from St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books
Wish Granted from Random House Publishing Group – Random House, The Dial Group
Wish Granted from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books
Request from Meryl Media Group, Rosewind Books

Books I got from Authors/Indie Publishers:

Non-Arc from author
ARC from Novel Cause
ARC from author
Non ARC from author
Non-ARC from author
Non-ARC from author
ARC from Author

Giveaway Winners

Goodreads Giveaway—Kindle download
Goodreads Giveaway—Paperback
Goodreads Giveaway—Paperback
Goodreads Giveaway—Paperback

Books Reviewed:

The Witch and the Vampire—review here

Prince of Typgar: Nurjan and the Monks of Meirar—review here

Read to Death at the Lakeside Library—review here

Dirty Laundry by Disha Bose—review here

Body Count by SM Thomas—review here

Prince of Typgar: Nujran and the Corpse in the Quadrangle by Krishna Sudhir—review here

Wings Once Cursed and Bound by Piper J. Drake—review here

No Time to Breathe by Lori Duffy Foster—review here

Another Chance at Happiness by Dani Phoenix—review here

Tales from the Box, Volume 1 by Weston Kincaide—review here

Pieces of Me by Kate McLaughlin—review here

Where Coyotes Howl by Sandra Dallas—review here

Bait by D.I. Jolly—review here

Missing by Amy Kulp—review here

How to Best a Marquess—review here

This Delicious Death—review here


Reading Challenges:

2023 Monthly Themes (Continue a series or reread an author already read this year): Claim My Baby—Finished 3-31-23

Romanceopoly 2023! (Read a book where the main character works at or owns a bar)-About LoveFinished 4-1-23

Buzzword Reading Challenge 2023 (words in the title related to emotions, from happy to sad, smile to frown, pride to rage)—P.S. I Hate You—Finished 4-3-23

2023 Sami Parker Reads Title Challenge (a book with one of these words in the title: Sunny, Bright, Cloud or Rain): Brightest Shadow—Finished 4-6-2023

Cover Scavenger Hunt 2023 (a flower): A Spirited Manor—Finished 4-7-2023

The StoryGraph’s OnBoarding Reading Challenge 2023 (read one of the first 10 books you added to your to-read pile): The Night Swim—Finished 4-8-2023

The StoryGraph Reads the World 2023 (Italy): Find Me—Finished 4-10-2023

The StoryGraph’s Genre Challenge (a biography about someone you don’t know much about): Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot—Finished 4-11-2023

Beat the Backlist 2023 (take place primarily in winter or a cold region): Tainted—Finished 4-19-2023

Scavenger Hunt TBR Book Challenge (go to the acknowledgments of the last book you read for this prompt. What name did you first see? Find a book written by an author with that name): Frost Burn—Finished 4-20-2023

Scavenger Hunt (Book I found that day): Delicate Ink—Finished 4-20-2023

Popsugar Reading Challenge 2023 (a book by a first time author): The Fifth Floor—Finished 4-21-23

2023 TBR Toppler (continue a series): Ten Thousand Lies—Finished 4-22-23

2023 Reading Challenge (book that has been on my TBR for the longest time): Purple Death—Finished 4-23-23

2023 ABC Challenge (D): Descendants—Carrying over to May

2023 TBR Prompts (A BookTok Favorite): The Song of Achilles—Carrying over to May