Thursday, May 20, 2021

Temporary Blog Hiatus. Find Me on Instagram

As you can probably tell, the ol' blog has been a bit neglected. It turns out that life with two toddlers has changed my approach to things. But...never fear...I'm still around.

You can find me primarily over at Instagram these days. I'm still posting bookish things over there, centering mostly on bookish journals and reviews. I'm also posting reviews on Goodreads, The StoryGraph, and Litsy

I don't think this is the end of the blog, just one of those times when I disappear from this platform for a while as life goes on. When things shift once again, my blogging juices will likely return.'s not time for goodbye...just a see you soon.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Review: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig


The Midnight Library
Matt Haig

Audiobook (Narrated by Carey Mulligan)
288 pages / 8:50:46

Published by Viking (August 2020)

Started: 1/1/2021    Finished: 1/3/2021


Nora Seed's life is not going the way she had planned. When her depression turns to desperation, she attempts to take her life. She ends up in a library between life and death, filled with books to explore the other pathways her life could have taken if she had made different choices (some big, some small) along the way.

Nora is tasked with exploring the library and trying out the other lives she might have lived. She will travel from story to story until she finds the one that feels just right. Is the perfect life out there?



Beautiful writing.
Great premise.
Fun and entertaining.


Some darker topic exploration.
Somewhat predictable.


A fun cover and a great premise drew me to add The Midnight Library to my TBR. It was a good choice. I had a wonderful time reading this one and didn't want to put it down. It moves quite nicely at a medium pace and has great emotional content. There are moments of high tension, but it is mostly a ride that pulls at the heartstrings and made me contemplate pieces of my own life.

Haig's writing is beautiful, but accessible. It feels comfortable while still creating a vibrant atmosphere and shaping Nora's character in a masterful way. I could have used a bit more development in the supporting characters, but they were not completely flat and did add some value to the story.

The exploration of lives and the use of Nora's librarian friend, Mrs. Elm as a guide were executed very well. I savored the progress of this book and just found myself sinking in to the narrative.

The ending was somewhat, though not completely, predictable. It was a good, solid close to the story, but not quite as powerful as I would have liked. Still, the journey itself was magical and impactful and I very much enjoyed my reading experience. This is a book that will find itself a permanent place in my collection.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Coming 2021...

Returning from hiatus in January 2021 

with a new review style 

and a lot of great books to read!

Saturday, June 6, 2020

June 2020 TBR

Summer is on the doorstep and it's time to get some good reading in out by the our case that's the inflatable kiddie pool, but it keeps the kids happy and gives me a break from chasing them around since I have strategically placed it inside of the outdoor playpen so they can't escape. *Insert evil mom laugh here*

Like every other month thus far this year, I have PACKED my TBR with a pile of books. I won't likely get to them all within the month, but I like to have options and I would rather have extras than run out of books in the plan. I know it's weird, heaven knows I have a hundred books just waiting to be read so I could easily scout out another, but it works for me.

The June slate is an eclectic one, with middle grade, YA, and adult books represented. There are also fantasies, historical fiction, contemporaries, scifi, and even a horror. It's quite the hodgepodge, but I'm very excited for these reads. 
(I have them listed in a bit of an order based upon some readathon plans I have for the month, but that's never a guarantee that I will read them as listed.)

Let's take a peek at what's on the list:


1. Sin Eater by Megan Campisi - Historical Fiction (2020)
2. Last Memoria by Rachel Emma Shaw - Fantasy (2020)
3. Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff - Science Fiction (2018)
4. Nevertell by Katharine Orton - Middle Grade Fantasy (2019)

5. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins - Contemporary (2020)
6. Open Book by Jessica Simpson - Memoir (2020)
7. The Claires by C.L. Gaber - Supernatural Fantasy (2020)
8. The Kiminee Dream by Laura McHale Holland - Magical Realism (2020)


9. The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune - YA Fantasy (2020)
10. Postscript by Cecelia Ahern - Contemporary (2019)
11. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - Classic (1847)
12. In Five Years by Rebecca Searle- Contemporary Romance (2020)


13. Dev1at3 by Jay Kristoff - Science Fiction (2019)
14. House of Shadows by Darcy Coates - Horror (2020)
15. Good Boy by Jennifer Finney Boylan - Memoir (2020)
16. Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas - Gothic Mystery (2020)


17. The Goddess Twins by Yodassa Williams- YA Fantasy (2020)
18. The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant- YA Fantasy (2020)
19. The Glamourist by Luanne G. Smith - Fantasy (2020)
20 Brave New World by Aldous Huxley - Dystopian (1932)


21. The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna - YA Fantasy (2021)
22. An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim - Dystopian (2018)

Keep an eye on the blog, my Goodreads, and my Instagram for updates and reviews on these books as I read through them in June. Are any of these on your TBR?

Friday, June 5, 2020

Book Review: The Will & the Wilds by Charlie N. Holmberg

The Will and the Wilds
Charlie N. Holmberg

YA Fantasy - 2020 (47North)
Paperback - 268 pages


Enna and her father live at the edge of the wildwood, a place where the wild mystings roam. When danger erupts and she is at risk of being killed, Enna foolishly binds herself to Maekallus with the promise of help. As a result, Maekallus becomes bound to the mortal realm and starts fading from existence. The only thing that will save him is a kiss from Enna, a kiss that will also allow him to take a piece of her soul. Now Enna must discover a way to break the bond that ties them before they both stand to perish.


I have loved everything I've read by Charlie N. Holmberg. There is something about her writing that just sucks me in. I find it fun and whimsical with creative and wonderful worlds and just the right amount of darkness. The Will and the Wilds was no different.

Enna's character was well written, though perhaps a bit older than I would have imagined her. However, she is appropriately daring and a brilliant combination of mature and naive given her circumstances. Her family's backstory is revealed just enough to give some good footing for the story while still leaving substantial room for mystery and maybe a little bit of reader confusion that keeps things a little up in the air.

The writing is done in dual POV, based on both Enna and Maekallus. At first, this was a little bit awkward, but it worked very well as the story started to gain traction. The majority of the tale is told from Enna's first person point of view, showing the reader her limitations, while the smaller piece of the narrative is a third person view of Maekallus, the mysting to whom Enna has unwittingly bound herself. This second perspective is very limited, but gives just enough information to create increased tension in the narrative, reveal some things that Enna is oblivious to, and serves to make the story just that much more interesting.

I loved this story very much, though I will admit that I would have loved for Enna's grandmother to have been a live. I wanted more of her knowledge of the mystings, as I found these pieces of the world incredibly fascinating. Holmberg's writing is just my style and I have yet to find a book of hers that I haven't loved. This was another weird and wonderful read.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

Circling the Sun
Paula McLain

Historical Fiction - 2015 (Ballantine Books)
Audiobook (Hardcover - 366 pages)


Set in between 1910 and 1940s, Circling the Sun is a historical fiction novel set in colonial Kenya. The story, based on true life, follows the independent Beryl Markham as she matures against the backdrop of the wild bush. After moving from England, Beryl's mother takes her younger brother, Dickie, and deserts the family. Beryl is raised by her father with the additional influence of the Kipsigis tribe sharing their estate. 

Beryl becomes very confident and determined, working to learn the trade of horse training in a social set that doesn't quite accept this type of ruggedness in a woman. She soon falls in with the Happy Valley set, a group of European settlers of similar age. The friendships she develops include those with Karen Blixen, also known as Tania, who wrote the memoir Out of Africa under the pseudonym of Isak Dinesen.


I had read (and loved) McLain's The Paris Wife a few years ago as the result of another stellar recommendation from my friend, Patti. When it comes to historical fiction recommendations, she hasn't steered me wrong yet. Circling the Sun was available on audio from my library, so I figured I'd go ahead and give it a whirl...going in completely blind.

The prologue threw me off quite a bit, as it starts with Beryl flying an airplane and then the plot abruptly shifts back thirty years and lands the reader in Africa. That was a little disorienting and really had me questioning where things were going, but I tried to put it at the back of my mind and moved on just the same.

The start was definitely a slow burn. McLain writes very atmospheric descriptions, but things build quite slowly. The writing is beautiful and lyrical, capturing both the beauty and the danger of early 20th century Kenya incredibly well. There is a methodical inclusion of conflicts every couple of chapters, which helped to keep the pacing steady and made the story maintain interest. These instances were sometimes quite traumatic and intense events, but they still felt as if they rolled smoothly with the rest of the prose. There is something somewhat hypnotizing about the way the novel is crafted.

Beryl is a sympathetic character, despite her flaws. In fact, that's one of the things I liked a lot about this novel. All of the characters are unapologetically imperfect. Granted, they are based on real individuals and so have a tendency to be human regardless, but the way they are crafted just makes them so fantastic. There were things I definitely did not like about Beryl as a person, but I was still very interested and invested in her journey. 

The story celebrates Beryl's successes as well as wandering through her struggles and failures in her bid for independence, something quite difficult for a woman in her day and age. I was quite impressed with the story from start to finish and wouldn't mind learning more about the real Beryl Markham. In fact, Circling the Sun generated a strong interest in me to know more about this particular period of time and cast of characters. I plan to follow this read up with Beryl's autobiography as well as Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa in the future.

Monday, May 11, 2020

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

The Alice Network
Kate Quinn

Historical Fiction - 2017 (William Morrow)
Audiobook (Paperback - 503 pages)


The Alice Network is a historical fiction novel working on a dual timeline with a coordinating dual narrative. 

1947. Charlie St. Clair. Charlie is the college-aged daughter of a wealthy American couple who has found herself unmarried and pregnant. Her mother absconds her to Europe, planning to rid her of her "little problem". Instead, Charlie escapes her mother's control and flees to London in an attempt to find her missing cousin, Rose, who went missing under French Nazi occupation during World War II. 

1915. Evelyn Gardiner is recruited as a spy for the English against the Germans. She is stationed in a small town in France, where she is given the code name Marguerite (little Daisy) and is trained by the "queen of spies" Lili, also known as Alice. Lili is the mastermind behind the real life Alice Network, a collection of spies working together to help bring down the German forces.

Charlie and Eve's timelines connect in 1947, when Charlie finds herself hoping that drunken and possibly unbalanced Eve can help her locate her missing cousin. 


The Alice Network had been recommended to me quite a while ago by my friend, Patti, and I put it off much longer than I should have. I loved this book so much. The dual narrative and dual timelines weave together flawlessly and the characters are so incredibly distinct. I was completely wrapped up in the story and felt truly invested in nearly everything going on.

I enjoy historical fiction, but this was such a unique read for me. The war is present in the narrative, but it's more of an outside force. It's obvious and definitely plays a part in why the entire book actually exists, but the focus was SO ingrained in the characters that it was easy to let that fade somewhat into the background. It was an interesting blend, but it was a good thing. I think this serves to make the book more accessible for those who maybe want to try historical fiction, but shy away from "wartime" novels. There is a lot of historical content present, but it is beautifully combined with wonderfully imaginative storytelling.

The characters were amazing. Eve is a total badass and I adored her. She is so dynamic and such a factor of her experience and I loved every little bit of her. The inclusion of the stammer (taken from the author's husband's life experience) was a brilliant touch and made her even more unique and marvelous. The growth that is seen in Charlie is also great and I love that the female characters in the book are so incredibly strong.

The only flaw for me was I slight one. The ending wrapped up a little too quickly when compared to the rest of the book, but I still felt it was well done. Part of my disappointment in this construction was honestly due to the fact that I didn't want the book to end.

I can easily say that this is among my favorite historical fiction reads of all time. So much good writing and good story and just fantastic experience in these pages! I will be picking up more of Kate Quinn's work in the near future...I particularly have my eye on her novel, The Huntress.

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