Weekly Wrap Up: July 19th through July 25th 2020

Books I’ve Read:

Survive

Crossroads

Arrival of the Traveler

Of Lords and Commoners

Smolder

From This Moment On

Free Falling

The Cinderella Arrangement

True Light


Weekly Posts:

Its Monday! What Are You Reading

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday


Reviews I did this week:

Of Lords and Commoners (review here)

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 20th 2020)

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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 organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… 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 here at The Book Date.


What I Read this past week:

Qualify (The Atlantis Grail, #1)

You have two options. You die, or you Qualify.

The year is 2047. An extinction-level asteroid is hurtling toward Earth, and the descendants of ancient Atlantis have returned from the stars in their silver ships to offer humanity help.

But there’s a catch.

They can only take a tiny percent of the Earth’s population back to the colony planet Atlantis. And in order to be chosen, you must be a teen, you must be bright, talented, and athletic, and you must Qualify.

Sixteen-year-old Gwenevere Lark is determined not only to Qualify but to rescue her entire family.

Because there’s a loophole.

If you are good enough to Qualify, you are eligible to compete in the brutal games of the Atlantis Grail, which grants all winners the laurels, high tech luxuries, and full privileges of Atlantis Citizenship. And if you are in the Top Ten, then all your wildest wishes are granted… Such as curing your mother’s cancer.

There is only one problem.

Gwen Lark is known as a klutz and a nerd. While she’s a hotshot in classics, history, science, and languages, the closest she’s come to sports is a backyard pool and a skateboard.

This time she is in over her head, and in for a fight of her life, against impossible odds and world-class competition–including Logan Sangre, the most amazing guy in her school, the one she’s been crushing on, and who doesn’t seem to know she exists.

Because every other teen on Earth has the same idea.

You Qualify or you die .

Compete (The Atlantis Grail, #2)

It’s one thing to Qualify…
But do you have what it takes to Compete?

With Earth about to be destroyed by an extinction level asteroid, teenage nerd, geek, and awkward smart girl Gwen Lark, and a few of her friends and loved ones, barely Qualified for rescue onboard one of the thousands of ark-ships headed to the ancient colony planet Atlantis.

Now faced with a year-long journey in space, life in a wondrously alien environment, and many tough life choices, Gwen must decide who or what she will become. Fleet Cadet or Civilian? Friend or lover? Average or extraordinary?

Can she make new friends? Can she trust the old ones, such as Logan Sangre, her sexy high school crush and an Earth special operative?

Time and time again, Gwen’s uncanny ability to come up with the best answer in a crisis saves her life and others. And now, her unique Logos voice makes her an extremely valuable commodity to the Atlanteans — so much so that her enigmatic commanding officer Aeson Kassiopei, who is also the Imperial Prince of Atlantis, has taken an increasingly personal interest in her.

Before the end of the journey, Gwen must convince him that she has what it takes to compete in the deadly Games of the Atlantis Grail.

It’s becoming apparent — the life of her family and all of Earth depends on it.

Win (The Atlantis Grail #3)

The Games are Forever!


It’s one thing to Qualify and Compete…

Now she must Win.


Gwen Lark, nerd, geek, and awkward smart girl, is among the lucky ones. She’s one of several million teenage refugees to escape the extinction-level asteroid barreling towards Earth and reach the ancient colony planet of Atlantis.


But Atlantis is a strange new world with higher gravity and a blazing white sun, where nothing is as expected. The new arrivals from Earth will now belong to the majority class of non-citizens who face a lifetime of hard work and limited rights.


To make matters worse, Gwen’s rare and powerful talent, her Logos voice, is viewed as a potential weapon to be exploited by the Imperator, as well as a threat to the Kassiopei Imperial Dynasty and its uncompromising control over the people of Atlantis.


A last-minute heartbreak prior to arrival turns to joy, when Gwen receives a declaration of love from an unexpected source. The Wedding date is set, but before she can be joined with her true love, she is forced to compete in the brutal and deadly Games of the Atlantis Grail to save herself, her family, friends, and everything she cares about. Once again, her intelligence, quick thinking skills, resilience, and creativity are challenged to the breaking point.


The Games are monumental, intricate, lethal . . . and the Games are Forever.


This time Gwen must fight and figure her way through the most difficult and sophisticated contest she has ever faced. Terrifying Ordeals and impossible Challenges, ruthless skilled Competitors, vicious secret assassins, and dubious teammates she must work with but cannot trust, are just the beginning. . . .


Meanwhile, as the Games rage, the fate of two worlds is at stake as a new alien threat looms over Earth and Atlantis.


But Gwen Lark has a secret weapon of her own. It’s not her Logos voice and its untapped power to control orichalcum technology and perpetuate change.


It is Gwen herself.

Survive (The Atlantis Grail, #4)

The End is Here, in a Fiery Cosmic Apocalypse!

Gwen Lark knows how to Qualify, Compete, and Win…
The time has come to Survive.

The Games of the Atlantis Grail have come to a ground-shaking halt and Gwen Lark, nerd, geek, and awkward smart girl, survived the remarkable ordeal, for the time being.

But the worst is yet to come!

Now, both the colony planet Atlantis and Earth are under a threat of annihilation, and everything is up in the air, including dire and stunning wonders in the Atlantean skies.

Will there be a Wedding? Will there be a future for Gwen Lark, her beloved, and all their families, friends, and loved ones?

Is Gwen’s rare and powerful talent, the Logos voice of creation, enough to resolve the greatest mystery of the Kassiopei Imperial Dynasty and its role in the events of deepest antiquity since the dawn of time?

The fate of the entire human species is at stake, and now there can be no respite, not a moment to lose. The final battle is here, and Gwen, and everyone she knows and loves, are in for the greatest fight of their lives.

It is time to survive.


What I am reading now:

Crossroads (The Corax Chronicles Book 1)

The mythological god Raven, the living embodiment of the cautionary tale, is a veteran trickster with a charismatic-yet-erratic style all his own. As Raven has lived firsthand throughout the ages of mankind, he has a great deal of experience in getting into trouble, whether messing about with gods in Ancient Greece or racing across the American countryside on a stolen motorcycle. But when an enemy steals a power that Raven’s been guarding for thousands of years, Raven and his daughter Dora are abruptly thrust into a journey filled with magic, ghosts, gods, and seers in order to recover the irreplaceable thing he has lost.

At the same time, in the wake of three terrible hurricanes that struck the Mississippi River basin, a young shaman named Daniel begins a spirit quest for his lost medicine pouch, stolen from him on the worst night of the storms. When Daniel meets trouble on the road in the form of a woman named Vengeance, the two of them will have to work together to right the wrongs that set them on their shared path.

For all four of them, as they become steadily intertwined by power and circumstance, they are each driven towards a final crossroads that will change all of their lives forevermore.


What Am I Reading Next?

Arrival of the Traveler (Waldgrave #1)

Portraits have been removed from the walls, and areas of the house are off limits. Some rooms even seem to have been walled off completely. No one will talk to her.

It’s been a difficult year for Abilene Collins. Since her father’s death, her whirlwind life of adventure and travel has come to an end.

Now, she’s living with her mysterious uncle. He’s a man with secrets, living almost alone in a ridiculously large mansion that he doesn’t own. He doesn’t like questions, and when Lena starts asking about his job, it isn’t hard to tell that he’s keeping some family secrets from her.

The young and ambitious groundskeeper has become her only friend, and one day he tells her that she was stolen from her mother years before. Lena’s family are all telepathic, and that isn’t all…they’re a religious pillar of the Silenti society. Her grandfather has used his standing to gain political power, decimating his rivals along with anyone who gets in his way.

Suddenly thrust into a life of political plots and religious fanatics, Lena finds herself struggling to navigate her own life. Some people aren’t fond of the Darays, and the family has nearly died out through assassination.

It appears Lena is the latest target.

Of Lords and Commoners (Lords and Commoners #1)

Humans Have Always Had to Fight Plagues …

The only future Vallachia could have imagined, as well as her wonderfully simple life disappears when she finds herself in a struggle to figure out the rules of a strange new world.

She longs for her old life and the one she truly loves remains out of reach, as she embarks on an inconceivable journey.

Vallachia quickly finds herself on the wrong side of a brewing battle for vampire domination. Not knowing who to trust could have fatal consequences … for millions of people.

Smolder

Scarlett Barrington left the small town of Greenshade behind forever, along with unspeakable emotional wounds. She is preparing to begin her dream job when she’s called home to help her estranged mother, a hoarder, clean out her mess or risk losing her house.

Reluctantly returning home, nothing prepares her for the shock of coming face to face with her first love. Brody Finch may have been Greenshade’s glorious football legend, but he is also the man who deserted her a decade ago, when she needed him the most.

As Scarlett attempts to handle her combative mother, she’s forced to come to terms with airing her family’s dirty laundry on the reality TV show, Packrats. Community members with agendas of their own rally to help, harm, or just plain gawk.

Unexpectedly, the cold case murder of her sister comes back into focus, and Scarlett finds her own life in danger as she struggles to discover the truth about what happened so long ago. In the midst of this chaos, a serial arsonist brings the small town to its knees.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Can Scarlett and Finch find the love they once shared and lost? And if they do, will she live through the process?

The Last Human by Zack Jordan

The Last Human by [Jordan, Zack]

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: March 24th, 2020

Genre: Science Fiction

Where you can find The Last Human: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

The last human in the universe is on the run from a godlike intelligence in this rip-roaring debut space opera.

Sarya is the civilized galaxy’s worst nightmare: a Human.

Most days, Sarya doesn’t feel like the most terrifying creature in the galaxy.

Most days, she’s got other things on her mind. Like hiding her identity among the hundreds of alien species roaming the corridors of Watertower Station. Or making sure her adoptive mother doesn’t casually eviscerate one of their neighbors. Again.

And most days, she can almost accept that she’ll never know the truth–that she’ll never know why humanity was deemed too dangerous to exist. Or whether she really is–impossibly–the lone survivor of a species destroyed a millennium ago.

That is, until an encounter with a bounty hunter and a miles-long kinetic projectile leaves her life and her perspective shattered.

Thrown into the universe at the helm of a stolen ship–with the dubious assistance of a rebellious spacesuit, an android death enthusiast on his sixtieth lifetime, and a ball of fluff with an IQ in the thousands–Sarya begins to uncover an impossible truth.

What if humanity’s death and her own existence are simply two moves in a demented cosmic game, one played out by vast alien intellects? Stranger still, what if these mad gods are offering Sarya a seat at their table–and a second chance for humanity?

The Last Human is a sneakily brilliant, gleefully oddball space-opera debut–a masterful play on perspective, intelligence, and free will, wrapped in a rollicking journey through a strange and crowded galaxy.


First Line:

Not so many years ago, Shenya the Widow was a void-cold killer.

The Last Human by Zack Jordan

My Review:

I usually do not read science fiction for review. That doesn’t mean I don’t read that genre. I wouldn’t say I like do not like reviewing that genre. So how did I end up with The Last Human for review? Easy, I wished for it on NetGalley and the publisher granted my wish.

The Last Human is the story of Sarya. Sarya is the adopted daughter of Shenya the Widow and she lives on a space station. But, Sarya is also the last of her species, a Human. Sarya’s mother and herself have worked carefully to hide what Sarya is. Everything was okay until a bounty hunter showed up and everything went sideways. The result was Sarya on the run with a spacesuit who can think for itself, an android who is obsessed with death and a super-smart fluffball (think a Tribble) and her protector. When two gods approach Sarya with a chance to make right past wrongs, she has to make a choice. Does she accept what they individually offer? Or does she go her own way?

The plotline for The Last Human was well written and kept my attention. There was a little bit of lag (when Sarya was inside the Observer’s brain), but the author was able to pull past it. There was also no dropped storylines or characters, which was a massive plus for me.

Sarya was an awesome character. She knew that she was Human, and she knew that she needed to keep her Humanity secret. If she didn’t, she would have been killed on sight. She loved her mother, Shenya the Widow, and was devastated when Shenya gave her life to let Sarya escape. She did make some rash decisions, but that only highlighted her Humanity. Her actions at the end of the book were exciting and thought-provoking.

The science fiction angle of the book was wonderfully written. It has been a long while since I read a space opera that I enjoyed. The worlds, the technology, the other life forms were fantastically written. I loved that the author broke the book up into the tiers of intelligence. I also loved that he gave excerpts of the rules and a glimpse into why Humanity was wiped out.

The end of The Last Human was satisfying. It raised a lot of questions for me. Those questions weren’t to do with the book but with the question “Is there life out there.


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

I would reread The Last Human. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

Weekly Wrap Up: February 16th through February 22nd 2020

Books I’ve Read:

Shorefall

In Her Shadow

Truths I Never Told You

The New Husband

A Bad Day for Sunshine


Books with Pending Reviews:

A Bad Day for Sunshine—Review coming April 7th, 2020

Odriel’s Heirs—Review coming March 1st, 2020

Highland Sword—Review coming March 31st, 2020

The Last Human—Review coming March 24th, 2020


Books with Published Reviews:

Lily for My Enemy—Review Here

The Borgia Confessions—Review Here


Author/Publisher Requests:

Big Summer—Atria Books request

Tales from Ara: Valentine’s Special—Author Request

Tales from Ara: Lost Dimensions—Author Request

Hello, Summer—St. Martin’s Press request


NetGalley Requests:

Gone with the Rogue


Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz/Cover Reveal:

The Borgia Confessions—Blog Tour


Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday

Weekly Wrap Up: February 9th through February 15th 2020

Books I’ve Read:

Odriel’s Heirs

Highland Sword

The Last Human


Books with Pending Reviews:

You Are Not Alone—Review coming March 3rd

The Borgia Confessions—Review coming February 20th

Lily for My Enemy—Review coming February 21st

A Highlander in a Pickup—Review coming February 25th

Wild, Wild Rake—Review coming February 26th

All the Best Lies—Review coming February 11th


Books with Published Reviews:

All the Best Lies—Review Here

Been There, Married That—Review Here

Foul is Fair—Review Here


Author/Publisher Requests:

Don’t Look for Me


NetGalley Requests:

Devolution—wish granted from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray


Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz/Cover Reveal:

Foul is Fair—Blog Tour

The Mocking Man—Book Blitz


Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday: February 12th, 2020

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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?


Bookish Update:

Another week and again, I didn’t get through last weeks What I Think I Will Read Next list. I read one book out of the six I posted. Oh well. I am hoping I can catch up this week. But, with the way my week has been going, I doubt it.

I broke my NetGalley ban. Saint Martin’s Press had a 48 hour thing going on where several of their books were Read Now. Well, all of those books were parts of series I was reading, soooo I got them. Yeah, I know, bad but I did shut myself off right after.

I haven’t made any progress on editing my past posts. I got busy the last half of last week and the beginning of this week and pushed those back. I’m hoping, since my youngest is home sick today, that I can start to work on them again.


What I am currently reading:

The Last Human

The last human in the universe is on the run from a godlike intelligence in this rip-roaring debut space opera.

Sarya is the civilized galaxy’s worst nightmare: a Human.

Most days, Sarya doesn’t feel like the most terrifying creature in the galaxy.

Most days, she’s got other things on her mind. Like hiding her identity among the hundreds of alien species roaming the corridors of Watertower Station. Or making sure her adoptive mother doesn’t casually eviscerate one of their neighbors. Again.

And most days, she can almost accept that she’ll never know the truth–that she’ll never know why humanity was deemed too dangerous to exist. Or whether she really is–impossibly–the lone survivor of a species destroyed a millennium ago.

That is, until an encounter with a bounty hunter and a miles-long kinetic projectile leaves her life and her perspective shattered.

Thrown into the universe at the helm of a stolen ship–with the dubious assistance of a rebellious spacesuit, an android death enthusiast on his sixtieth lifetime, and a ball of fluff with an IQ in the thousands–Sarya begins to uncover an impossible truth.

What if humanity’s death and her own existence are simply two moves in a demented cosmic game, one played out by vast alien intellects? Stranger still, what if these mad gods are offering Sarya a seat at their table–and a second chance for humanity?

The Last Human is a sneakily brilliant, gleefully oddball space-opera debut–a masterful play on perspective, intelligence, and free will, wrapped in a rollicking journey through a strange and crowded galaxy.


I recently finished reading:

You Are Not Alone

You probably know someone like Shay Miller.
She wants to find love, but it eludes her.
She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end.
She wants to belong, but her life is so isolated.

You probably don’t know anyone like the Moore sisters.
They have an unbreakable circle of friends.
They live the most glamorous life.
They always get what they desire.

Shay thinks she wants their life.
But what they really want is hers.


What books I think I’ll read next:

Highland Sword (Royal Highlander #3)

A VOW FOR VENGEANCE
Fleeing to the Highlands after her father’s murder, fiery Morrigan Drummond has a score to settle with Sir Rupert Burney, the English spymaster responsible for his death. Trained to fight alongside the other rebels determined to break Britain’s hold on Scotland, she swears to avenge her father’s death—until a chance encounter with a barrister as proud and principled as she is presents her with a hard choice…and a bittersweet temptation.

A PLEA FOR PASSION
Aidan Grant has never encountered another woman like dangerous beauty Morrigan—and he has the bruises to prove it. Yet she could be the key to defending two innocent men, as well as striking a death blow to the reprehensible Burney. Convincing Morrigan to help him will take time, but Aidan is willing to wait if it means victory over corrupt government forces and freedom for his people…and Morrigan’s hand in marriage. Can two warriors committed to a cause stand down long enough to open their hearts to a love fierce enough to last…forever?

Odriel's Heirs (Odriel's Heirs, #1)

The brave, burning with fire, harnessed the Dragon’s Rage….

As the Dragon Heir, seventeen-year-old Kaia inherited the power of flame to protect her homeland from a godlike necromancer’s undead army. But after centuries of peace, the necromancer has faded to myth, and the Dragon Heir is feared by the people. Persecuted and cast out, Kaia struggles to embrace and control her seemingly useless gift while confined to her family’s farm.

But when the necromancer’s undead terrorize the land once again, Kaia runs away to join the battle.

With the help of her childhood rival, the handsome Shadow Heir, and a snarky, cursed cat, Kaia must figure out how to control both her fire and her confidence in time to save Okarria. If she fails, she will sacrifice her family, her new friends, and the enchanting world she has only just begun to see.

And time is running out.

A Bad Day for Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram, #1)

Sheriff Sunshine Vicram finds her cup o’ joe more than half full when the small village of Del Sol, New Mexico, becomes the center of national attention for a kidnapper on the loose.

Del Sol, New Mexico is known for three things: its fry-an-egg-on-the-cement summers, its strong cups of coffee—and a nationwide manhunt? Del Sol native Sunshine Vicram has returned to town as the elected sheriff–an election her adorably meddlesome parents entered her in–and she expects her biggest crime wave to involve an elderly flasher named Doug. But a teenage girl is missing, a kidnapper is on the loose, and all of it’s reminding Sunny why she left Del Sol in the first place. Add to that trouble at her daughter’s new school and a kidnapped prized rooster named Puff Daddy, and Sunshine has her hands full.

Enter sexy almost-old-flame Levi Ravinder and a hunky US Marshall, both elevens on a scale of one to blazing inferno, and the normally savvy sheriff is quickly in over her head. Now it’s up to Sunshine to juggle a few good hunky men, a not-so-nice kidnapping miscreant, and Doug the ever-pesky flasher. And they said coming home would be drama-free.

The New Husband

Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you know them.

Nina Garrity learned that the hard way after discovering that her missing husband, Glen, had been leading a double life with another woman. But Glen’s gone–presumably drowned while fishing on his boat–so she can’t confront him about the affair or any of his other misdeeds. A year and a half after the accident, Nina considers herself a widow, even though the police never found a body. Following a chance encounter with Simon Fitch, a teacher from her daughter Maggie’s middle school, Nina finds love again and has hopes of putting her shattered life back together.

Simon, a widower still grieving the suicide of his first wife, has found his dream girl in Nina. His charm and affections help break through to a heart hardened by betrayal. Nina’s teenage son, Connor, embraces Simon as the father he wishes his dad could have been, but Maggie sees a far darker side to this new man in their lives. Even Nina’s good friends wonder if Simon is supremely devoted–or dangerously possessive.

But Nina is committed, not only to her soon-to-be new husband but also to resuming her former career as a social worker. Before she can move forward, however, Nina must first clear her conscience that she’s not making another terrible choice in a man. In doing so, she will uncover the shocking truth: the greatest danger to her, and her children, are the lies people tell themselves.

WWW Wednesday: February 5th, 2020

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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?


Bookish Update:

I didn’t quite read all the books I wanted to last week. Not for a lack of trying though!! I had a lot of kid related things to do and that meant my Kindle got shoved to the back burner. And by the time it was time for bed, I was beat. Since this week is less crazy, I am hoping that I can catch up on some reading.

I have been keeping to my no reading/blogging on the weekends. Surprisingly, it has been easy to do. I just don’t turn on my computer. I have found that on Monday, I am ready to start blogging. I have also found that my memory of the books are better. I don’t find myself putting anything off. I am loving it.

I am still working on editing my past posts. I have a goal of at least 5 a week and so far, so good. I’m hoping that I am able to get this finished by the summer.

I am also still on my NetGalley ban. Well, somewhat. If I see a book by an author I like, I will request it. And I have been accepting invited emailed to me. But, I am not going crazy with requesting.

I did something different this weekend. I have 3 tbr shelves on Goodreads. I have waiting to be reviewed, tbr, and want to read. I decided to go through my tbr and get rid of any books that were not on Amazon anymore. Then I went through my want to read and downloaded (and in some cases, redownloaded) books that were on there. I added about 50 to my tbr shelf. I also took off about 100 books from there too. I know, confusing…lol. I had to reread that last sentance to make sure I wrote it write…haha.


What I am currently reading:

The Borgia Confessions

During the sweltering Roman summer of 1492, Rodrigo Borgia has risen to power as pope. Rodrigo’s eldest son Cesare, forced to follow his father into the church and newly made the Archbishop of Valencia, chafes at his ecclesiastical role and fumes with jealousy and resentment at the way that his foolish brother has been chosen for the military greatness he desired.

Maddalena Moretti comes from the countryside, where she has seen how the whims of powerful men wreak havoc on the lives of ordinary people. But now, employed as a servant in the Vatican Palace, she cannot help but be entranced by Cesare Borgia’s handsome face and manner and finds her faith and conviction crumbling in her want of him.

As war rages and shifting alliances challenge the pope’s authority, Maddalena and Cesare’s lives grow inexplicably entwined. Maddalena becomes a keeper of dangerous Borgia secrets, and must decide if she is willing to be a pawn in the power games of the man she loves. And as jealousy and betrayal threaten to tear apart the Borgia family from within, Cesare is forced to reckon with his seemingly limitless ambition.

Alyssa Palombo’s captivating new novel, The Borgia Confessions, is a story of passion, politics, and class, set against the rise and fall of one of Italy’s most infamous families–the Borgias


I recently finished reading:

A Highlander in a Pickup (Highland, Georgia, #2)

Iain Connors is the poster boy for the strong and silent type. Growing up a loner at Cairndow Castle in Scotland with only the cliffs and moors for company, it’s understood Iain will assume the mantle of Cairndow groundskeeper when his father is ready to relinquish it. But his stint in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces has opened up a whole new world—and now, rather than settle down, he accepts an invitation to travel to the States to take charge of the Highland Games. After all, he’s led men into battle, how hard can planning a party be?

Anna Maitland is ready to step up for her best friend Isabel Blackmoor, who can’t run the Games in their hometown this year. Surely Anna, a dance instructor with boundless energy, spirit, and charm, is up for the challenge? What she doesn’t anticipate is a man in a kilt who turns up claiming he’s the one in charge. What’s worse about this Iain? He’s so infuriatingly handsome that she can’t help but fantasize about him whispering sweet-nothings in her ear in his rumbly, sexy brogue. . .


What books I think I’ll read next:

You Are Not Alone

You probably know someone like Shay Miller.
She wants to find love, but it eludes her.
She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end.
She wants to belong, but her life is so isolated.

You probably don’t know anyone like the Moore sisters.
They have an unbreakable circle of friends.
They live the most glamorous life.
They always get what they desire.

Shay thinks she wants their life.
But what they really want is hers.

The Last Human

The last human in the universe is on the run from a godlike intelligence in this rip-roaring debut space opera.

Sarya is the civilized galaxy’s worst nightmare: a Human.

Most days, Sarya doesn’t feel like the most terrifying creature in the galaxy.

Most days, she’s got other things on her mind. Like hiding her identity among the hundreds of alien species roaming the corridors of Watertower Station. Or making sure her adoptive mother doesn’t casually eviscerate one of their neighbors. Again.

And most days, she can almost accept that she’ll never know the truth–that she’ll never know why humanity was deemed too dangerous to exist. Or whether she really is–impossibly–the lone survivor of a species destroyed a millennium ago.

That is, until an encounter with a bounty hunter and a miles-long kinetic projectile leaves her life and her perspective shattered.

Thrown into the universe at the helm of a stolen ship–with the dubious assistance of a rebellious spacesuit, an android death enthusiast on his sixtieth lifetime, and a ball of fluff with an IQ in the thousands–Sarya begins to uncover an impossible truth.

What if humanity’s death and her own existence are simply two moves in a demented cosmic game, one played out by vast alien intellects? Stranger still, what if these mad gods are offering Sarya a seat at their table–and a second chance for humanity?

The Last Human is a sneakily brilliant, gleefully oddball space-opera debut–a masterful play on perspective, intelligence, and free will, wrapped in a rollicking journey through a strange and crowded galaxy.

Highland Sword (Royal Highlander #3)

Scottish pride, persuasion, and passion—this is Highland romance at its breathtaking best. From USA Today bestselling author May McGoldrick comes Highland Sword, the third book in the Royal Highlander series.

A VOW FOR VENGEANCE
Fleeing to the Highlands after her father’s murder, fiery Morrigan Drummond has a score to settle with Sir Rupert Burney, the English spymaster responsible for his death. Trained to fight alongside the other rebels determined to break Britain’s hold on Scotland, she swears to avenge her father’s death—until a chance encounter with a barrister as proud and principled as she is presents her with a hard choice…and a bittersweet temptation.

A PLEA FOR PASSION
Aidan Grant has never encountered another woman like dangerous beauty Morrigan—and he has the bruises to prove it. Yet she could be the key to defending two innocent men, as well as striking a death blow to the reprehensible Burney. Convincing Morrigan to help him will take time, but Aidan is willing to wait if it means victory over corrupt government forces and freedom for his people…and Morrigan’s hand in marriage. Can two warriors committed to a cause stand down long enough to open their hearts to a love fierce enough to last…forever?

Odriel's Heirs (Odriel's Heirs, #1)

The brave, burning with fire, harnessed the Dragon’s Rage….

As the Dragon Heir, seventeen-year-old Kaia inherited the power of flame to protect her homeland from a godlike necromancer’s undead army. But after centuries of peace, the necromancer has faded to myth, and the Dragon Heir is feared by the people. Persecuted and cast out, Kaia struggles to embrace and control her seemingly useless gift while confined to her family’s farm.

But when the necromancer’s undead terrorize the land once again, Kaia runs away to join the battle.

With the help of her childhood rival, the handsome Shadow Heir, and a snarky, cursed cat, Kaia must figure out how to control both her fire and her confidence in time to save Okarria. If she fails, she will sacrifice her family, her new friends, and the enchanting world she has only just begun to see.

And time is running out.

A Bad Day for Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram, #1)

Sheriff Sunshine Vicram finds her cup o’ joe more than half full when the small village of Del Sol, New Mexico, becomes the center of national attention for a kidnapper on the loose.

Del Sol, New Mexico is known for three things: its fry-an-egg-on-the-cement summers, its strong cups of coffee—and a nationwide manhunt? Del Sol native Sunshine Vicram has returned to town as the elected sheriff–an election her adorably meddlesome parents entered her in–and she expects her biggest crime wave to involve an elderly flasher named Doug. But a teenage girl is missing, a kidnapper is on the loose, and all of it’s reminding Sunny why she left Del Sol in the first place. Add to that trouble at her daughter’s new school and a kidnapped prized rooster named Puff Daddy, and Sunshine has her hands full.

Enter sexy almost-old-flame Levi Ravinder and a hunky US Marshall, both elevens on a scale of one to blazing inferno, and the normally savvy sheriff is quickly in over her head. Now it’s up to Sunshine to juggle a few good hunky men, a not-so-nice kidnapping miscreant, and Doug the ever-pesky flasher. And they said coming home would be drama-free.

The New Husband

Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you know them.

Nina Garrity learned that the hard way after discovering that her missing husband, Glen, had been leading a double life with another woman. But Glen’s gone–presumably drowned while fishing on his boat–so she can’t confront him about the affair or any of his other misdeeds. A year and a half after the accident, Nina considers herself a widow, even though the police never found a body. Following a chance encounter with Simon Fitch, a teacher from her daughter Maggie’s middle school, Nina finds love again and has hopes of putting her shattered life back together.

Simon, a widower still grieving the suicide of his first wife, has found his dream girl in Nina. His charm and affections help break through to a heart hardened by betrayal. Nina’s teenage son, Connor, embraces Simon as the father he wishes his dad could have been, but Maggie sees a far darker side to this new man in their lives. Even Nina’s good friends wonder if Simon is supremely devoted–or dangerously possessive.


But Nina is committed, not only to her soon-to-be new husband but also to resuming her former career as a social worker. Before she can move forward, however, Nina must first clear her conscience that she’s not making another terrible choice in a man. In doing so, she will uncover the shocking truth: the greatest danger to her, and her children, are the lies people tell themselves. 

WWW Wednesday: January 29th, 2019

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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?


Bookish Update:

I have been doing good not requesting anything from NetGalley. Because of that, I have put a huge dent in my current titles shelf. I was getting books off quickly until…I started reading The Impossible Castle. That took me 5 days to read. 5 flipping days!!!!!! I almost DNF’d a couple of times. But, once I start reading a book, I need to finish it, even if I didn’t enjoy it or like it.

I also changed the theme of my blog. I wanted something that was simple and this one is perfect. Along with changing the theme of my blog, I have been cleaning up posts. Checking/updating links, updating covers/synopsis, checking to see if the book is still on Goodreads/Amazon and removing those that aren’t. You would be surprised at how many books I have taken off!!

I am still taking things gradual with getting back into blogging. Weekends are still off the table. I look forward to blogging on Monday now.

So, that’s it. Everything that has happened to me in a nutshell over this past month. I will try to do this on a weekly basis but I can’t guarantee it.


What I am currently reading:

Been There, Married That

A hilarious new novel full of Hollywood glitz, glamour, and scandal.

When he changes the locks, she changes the rules.

Agnes Murphy Nash is the perfect Hollywood wife – she has the right friends, the right clothes, and even a side career of her own as a writer. Her husband Trevor is a bigshot producer, and from the outside it looks like they’re living a picture-perfect celebrity life, complete with tennis tournaments and lavish parties.

But the job description of a Hollywood wife doesn’t cover divorce, which is the way Agnes’ life is headed after she comes home one day to find her credit cards cancelled and the security passwords to get into her enormous LA home changed. Oh, and there’s a guy there whose job it is to tase her if she tries to enter…which she does. Needless to say, Agnes’ husband is dead set on making sure she loses big time, but Agnes isn’t the type to just lie down and take it. In a world of fremenies and hot nannies, personal psychics and “skinny” jello shots, Agnes may be losing her husband, but could that mean getting her own life back?

Been There, Married That is a drop-dead hilarious battle of wills that will make you laugh out loud, cringe, and keep turning the pages to see what crazy disaster will happen to Agnes next…and how she’ll rise from the ashes.


I recently finished reading:

Things in Jars

In the dark underbelly of Victorian London, a formidable female sleuth is pulled into the macabre world of fanatical anatomists and crooked surgeons while investigating the kidnapping of an extraordinary child in this gothic mystery—perfect for fans of The Essex Serpent and The Book of Speculation.

Bridie Devine—female detective extraordinaire—is confronted with the most baffling puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, and a peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors trading curiosities in this age of discovery.

Winding her way through the labyrinthine, sooty streets of Victorian London, Bridie won’t rest until she finds the young girl, even if it means unearthing a past that she’d rather keep buried. Luckily, her search is aided by an enchanting cast of characters, including a seven-foot tall housemaid; a melancholic, tattoo-covered ghost; and an avuncular apothecary. But secrets abound in this foggy underworld where spectacle is king and nothing is quite what it seems.

Blending darkness and light, history and folklore, Things in Jars is a spellbinding Gothic mystery that collapses the boundary between fact and fairy tale to stunning effect and explores what it means to be human in inhumane times.


What books I think I’ll read next:

All the Best Lies (Ellery Hathaway #3)

The highly anticipated third novel in the award-winning Ellery Hathaway mystery series.

FBI agent Reed Markham is haunted by one painful unsolved mystery: who murdered his mother? Camilla was brutally stabbed to death more than forty years ago while baby Reed lay in his crib mere steps away. The trail went so cold that the Las Vegas Police Department has given up hope of solving the case. But then a shattering family secret changes everything Reed knows about his origins, his murdered mother, and his powerful adoptive father, state senator Angus Markham. Now Reed has to wonder if his mother’s killer is uncomfortably close to home.

Unable to trust his family with the details of his personal investigation, Reed enlists his friend, suspended cop Ellery Hathaway, to join his quest in Vegas. Ellery has experience with both troubled families and diabolical murderers, having narrowly escaped from each of them. She’s eager to skip town, too, because her own father, who abandoned her years ago, is suddenly desperate to get back in contact. He also has a secret that could change her life forever, if Ellery will let him close enough to hear it.

Far from home and relying only on each other, Reed and Ellery discover young Camilla had snared the attention of dangerous men, any of whom might have wanted to shut her up for good. They start tracing his twisted family history, knowing the path leads back to a vicious killer—one who has been hiding in plain sight for forty years and isn’t about to give up now.

Wild, Wild Rake (The Cavensham Heiresses #6)

Her first marriage was an epic failure.

Lady Avalon Warwyck never did love her husband. Arrogant, selfish, and cruel, it’s a blessing when she’s widowed and left to raise her son all by herself. Finally, Avalon can live freely and do the work she loves: helping fallen women become businesswomen. She’s lived these past ten years with no desire to remarry―that is, until Mr. Devan Farris comes to town.

Can he convince her to take another chance at happily ever after?

Devan Farris―charming vicar, reputed rake, and the brother of Avalon’s son’s guardian―is reluctantly sent to town to keep tabs on Avalon and her son. Devan wishes he didn’t have to meddle in her affairs; he’s not one to trod on a woman’s independent nature and keen sense of convictions. But she’ll have nothing to do with vicar with a wild reputation―even though he’s never given his heart and body to another. If only he could find a way to show Avalon who he really is on the inside―a good, true soul looking for its other half. But how can prove that he wants to love and care for her. . .until death do they part?

A Highlander in a Pickup (Highland, Georgia, #2)

A Highlander in a Pickup is the second book in award-winning author Laura Trentham’s romantic comedy Highland Georgia series, full of love, laughs…and highlanders!

When a gorgeous new man—in a kilt—comes to town, life in Highland, Georgia will never be the same…

Iain Connors is the poster boy for the strong and silent type. Growing up a loner at Cairndow Castle in Scotland with only the cliffs and moors for company, it’s understood Iain will assume the mantle of Cairndow groundskeeper when his father is ready to relinquish it. But his stint in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces has opened up a whole new world—and now, rather than settle down, he accepts an invitation to travel to the States to take charge of the Highland Games. After all, he’s led men into battle, how hard can planning a party be?

Anna Maitland is ready to step up for her best friend Isabel Blackmoor, who can’t run the Games in their hometown this year. Surely Anna, a dance instructor with boundless energy, spirit, and charm, is up for the challenge? What she doesn’t anticipate is a man in a kilt who turns up claiming he’s the one in charge. What’s worse about this Iain? He’s so infuriatingly handsome that she can’t help but fantasize about him whispering sweet-nothings in her ear in his rumbly, sexy brogue. . .

The Borgia Confessions

During the sweltering Roman summer of 1492, Rodrigo Borgia has risen to power as pope. Rodrigo’s eldest son Cesare, forced to follow his father into the church and newly made the Archbishop of Valencia, chafes at his ecclesiastical role and fumes with jealousy and resentment at the way that his foolish brother has been chosen for the military greatness he desired.

Maddalena Moretti comes from the countryside, where she has seen how the whims of powerful men wreak havoc on the lives of ordinary people. But now, employed as a servant in the Vatican Palace, she cannot help but be entranced by Cesare Borgia’s handsome face and manner and finds her faith and conviction crumbling in her want of him.

As war rages and shifting alliances challenge the pope’s authority, Maddalena and Cesare’s lives grow inexplicably entwined. Maddalena becomes a keeper of dangerous Borgia secrets, and must decide if she is willing to be a pawn in the power games of the man she loves. And as jealousy and betrayal threaten to tear apart the Borgia family from within, Cesare is forced to reckon with his seemingly limitless ambition.

Alyssa Palombo’s captivating new novel, The Borgia Confessions, is a story of passion, politics, and class, set against the rise and fall of one of Italy’s most infamous families–the Borgias.

You Are Not Alone

You probably know someone like Shay Miller.
She wants to find love, but it eludes her.
She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end.
She wants to belong, but her life is so isolated.

You probably don’t know anyone like the Moore sisters.
They have an unbreakable circle of friends.
They live the most glamorous life.
They always get what they desire.

Shay thinks she wants their life.
But what they really want is hers.

The Last Human

The last human in the universe is on the run from a godlike intelligence in this rip-roaring debut space opera.

Sarya is the civilized galaxy’s worst nightmare: a Human.

Most days, Sarya doesn’t feel like the most terrifying creature in the galaxy.

Most days, she’s got other things on her mind. Like hiding her identity among the hundreds of alien species roaming the corridors of Watertower Station. Or making sure her adoptive mother doesn’t casually eviscerate one of their neighbors. Again.

And most days, she can almost accept that she’ll never know the truth–that she’ll never know why humanity was deemed too dangerous to exist. Or whether she really is–impossibly–the lone survivor of a species destroyed a millennium ago.

That is, until an encounter with a bounty hunter and a miles-long kinetic projectile leaves her life and her perspective shattered.

Thrown into the universe at the helm of a stolen ship–with the dubious assistance of a rebellious spacesuit, an android death enthusiast on his sixtieth lifetime, and a ball of fluff with an IQ in the thousands–Sarya begins to uncover an impossible truth.

What if humanity’s death and her own existence are simply two moves in a demented cosmic game, one played out by vast alien intellects? Stranger still, what if these mad gods are offering Sarya a seat at their table–and a second chance for humanity?

The Last Human is a sneakily brilliant, gleefully oddball space-opera debut–a masterful play on perspective, intelligence, and free will, wrapped in a rollicking journey through a strange and crowded galaxy.

The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez

The Vanished Birds: A Novel by [Jimenez, Simon]

3 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: January 14th 2020

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Where you can find The Vanished Birds: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

A mysterious child lands in the care of a solitary woman, changing both of their lives forever in this captivating debut of connection across space and time.

“This is when your life begins.”

Nia Imani is a woman out of place and outside of time. Decades of travel through the stars are condensed into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for everyone she has ever known. Her friends and lovers have aged past her; all she has left is work. Alone and adrift, she lives only for the next paycheck, until the day she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky.

A boy, broken by his past.

The scarred child does not speak, his only form of communication the beautiful and haunting music he plays on an old wooden flute. Captured by his songs and their strange, immediate connection, Nia decides to take the boy in. And over years of starlit travel, these two outsiders discover in each other the things they lack. For him, a home, a place of love and safety. For her, an anchor to the world outside of herself.

For both of them, a family.

But Nia is not the only one who wants the boy. The past hungers for him, and when it catches up, it threatens to tear this makeshift family apart.


First Line:

He was born with an eleventh finger.

The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez

My Review:

I was on the fence about reviewing The Vanished Birds. To make up my mind, I read the first four reviews on Goodreads. That is something I never do, but I was conflicted. The reviews were evenly conflicted about the book. So, I decided to take a chance on it. For the most part, it was a good book. But some parts made me wonder why they were written, even after finishing the book.

The Vanished Birds had a slow to a medium-paced plotline. When the book focused on Nia and her relationship with Ahro/their travels until he was 16, the book moved at a medium-paced. But, when the book focused on Fumiko Nakajima (past and present) and her travels, it slowed to a crawl. I will be honest; I skimmed over a large part of her story. I started paying attention when she was on the secret base and the events afterward.

I enjoyed reading about the type of space travel that Nia used to go between planets. It fascinated me. I couldn’t imagine being in space for what I would have thought would be a few months and to find out that 15 years have passed.

Nia was a tough cookie to like during the book. She made some questionable decisions that affected the people around her. Nia kept people are arm’s length. She did unbend, slightly, when she met Ahro. She unbent, even more, when Fumiko asked her to keep him safe for 15 years. But, I couldn’t quite bring myself to like her.

When Fumiko was introduced in The Vanished Birds, I didn’t understand what her role was. I mean, it was explained relatively early on that she was the founder of the colonies in space, and she invented the engine that allowed space travel. But I didn’t know why her backstory was being told. It didn’t go with the flow of Nia’s story. Even when her story was brought to the present, I still wondered: “Why?” I also wondered why she was so invested in Ahro. It was explained, and it didn’t show her in a good light.

I loved Ahro. I loved seeing his character growth throughout the book. I wasn’t prepared for what his secret was, though. I honestly thought that it had something to do with music and his affinity for it. So, when it was revealed, I was shocked. I loved watching his relationship with Nia and her crew grow, which made what happened and who caused it such a shock.

I do wish that more time had been spent on the times they visited the planets. There were so many locations!!! All exotic and all made me want more. But that didn’t happen.

I wasn’t a fan of the last half of the book. I had questions about what was going to happen to Nia and Ahro once the dust settles. I also had questions about Fumiko. I can only assume what happened to her. And then there is the question about where Ahro originally came from and who The Kind One was.


I would give The Vanished Birds 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 am on the fence if I would reread The Vanished Birds. I am also on the fence if I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

Weekly Wrap Up: November 30th through December 7th 2019

Books I’ve Read:

Alone in the Wild

Unmanageable

Once Upon a Cowboy Christmas

The Silvered Serpents


Books with Pending Reviews:

Big Lies in a Small Town—Review coming January 14th, 2020

The Vanished Birds—Review coming January 14th, 2020

The God Game—Review coming January 7th, 2020


Books with Published Reviews:

Thin Ice—Review Here

Finding Kyler—Review Here


NetGalley Requests:

Scot Under the Covers

Tucker


Author/Publisher Requests:

Losing Kyler—Author Request

You Are Not Alone—St. Martin’s Press


Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz/Cover Reveal:

Volatile Love—Book Blitz

Metal Bones—Cover Reveal

A Very Wicked Man—Cover Reveal

Meet Me in the Strange—Book Blitz

Doctor Millionaire—Book Blitz


Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday