Darkness Rising trilogy by Kelley Armstrong

The Gathering, The Calling, The Rising by Kelley Armstrong

So, I needed an audio book for puzzling and decided to check my Goodreads list of over 1800 ‘want to read’ titles 😂. I looked at the oldest page of the list and found Kelley Armstrong’s The Gathering, the first of a YA supernatural trilogy that I added to my wish list in 2012. Yep, 10 years ago. I started listening last Wednesday, then listened to the next one, and then read 406 pages of The Rising over the last two days. So, I finished the trilogy in less than a week. Take that for the recommendation it is. If you like skin walkers and other supernatural creatures that would be a bonus.

Maya just turned 16 and lives in a small community nearish Vancouver. She has friends and is popular. But she’s about to have her world come crashing down when she finds out that she is special and so are her friends thanks to the gene testing by the cabal that runs their whole lives. There’s danger, friendship, love, death, and decisions no one should have to make.

I was looking for something completely different than my usual read and this trilogy fit the bill nicely. I’ll have to check out more of Armstrong’s books.

What’s your favorite Armstrong book or trilogy?

The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews

The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews, 4.5/5, 336 pages, published 2022

Evelyn Maltravers understands exactly how little she’s worth on the marriage mart. As an incurable bluestocking from a family tumbling swiftly toward ruin, she knows she’ll never make a match in a ballroom. Her only hope is to distinguish herself by making the biggest splash in the one sphere she excels: on horseback. In haute couture. But to truly capture London’s attention she’ll need a habit-maker who’s not afraid to take risks with his designs—and with his heart.

Half-Indian tailor Ahmad Malik has always had a talent for making women beautiful, inching his way toward recognition by designing riding habits for Rotten Row’s infamous Pretty Horsebreakers—but no one compares to Evelyn. Her unbridled spirit enchants him, awakening a depth of feeling he never thought possible.

But pushing boundaries comes at a cost and not everyone is pleased to welcome Evelyn and Ahmad into fashionable society. With obstacles spanning between them, the indomitable pair must decide which hurdles they can jump and what matters most: making their mark or following their hearts?

from Goodreads

I’m so excited to have found a new (to me) historical romance author! I was sent this book as part of book tour and I happily spent a few days transported to Victorian England with charming characters and stories often left out of traditional historicals. Men discriminated against because they are only half English being allowed to touch women intimately (only for measurements and fittings, but still) and a heroine who wore glasses to balls? Shocking! Living with a spiritualist who brought her into the world of crystal balls and seances? Fun! And don’t get me started on how much I want to hire my own designer to come design my wardrobe with unique pieces that transform me.

I loved it! Don’t miss Evelyn and Ahmed’s love story, especially if you want something a little different, but not too different that you worry about a HEA being jeopardy 😁

And I’m eagerly awaiting book 2 in this series, Belles of London. Evelyn has wonderfully oddball friends and I look forward to their stories too.

I want to thank Austenprose for inviting me to be a part of this tour and sending me a copy of the book.

This Week – Snow Snow Everywhere

Fave video – We got our snow this week, around a foot by Monday and we’ve had another inch or so since then. It’s so cold that this snow isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Highlights of the Week
– Quite a few people have reached out to me wanting to talk about something I posted here, on Facebook, or Instagram, all book related and it’s been nice to reconnect with old friends.

Gage’s nature camp still met, even in all of that snow, while it was still snowing AND 16 degrees!

Eh – I took on the Treasurer position of our Friends of the Library board this week. I said yes because I’m capable and we needed someone to step up. I’m not excited about it, BUT I also know I’m going to learn new skills so that’s a plus. I’ve agreed to do it for a year, so the countdown has begun, lol.

Could’ve been better
– My to do list for the week barely has barely been touched. We put off our February vacay until Omicron starts going down. We really don’t want to be a few days into a 3 week trip and get sick. We’re aiming for March now.

Currently readingThe Siren of Sussex (Belles of London, …The Calling (Darkness Rising, #2)Allison's GambitBOSH!: How to Live VeganCharlotte's Web

Posts this weekMartin Luther King Jr. Day, Top Ten Tuesday, 2021 Books on my shelves

Books read this year – 32

On TV
We’re a few episodes in to the new Netflix show Archive 81.

Movies First Man (film).png We enjoyed this movie about Ohio astronaut Neil Armstrong.

Plans for the weekend – I need to finish up a book for a blog tour tomorrow (not a problem since I’m loving it) and tomorrow will be all about figuring out the finances of the Friends and what I need to do and then starting in on that to do list.

What about you? What are you up to this weekend?

Top Ten Tuesday – 2021 books on my shelves

So, today’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is 2021 books that you still need to read and I NEED YOUR HELP!

The two books on top were both given to me last year and I started and then abandoned them fairly early on.

📕Are either Honey Girl or Once There Were Wolves must reads? 📕. Should I try again or give them away?

Other books that were published last year waiting to be read…

📒The Ex Hex (picked up from the local Buy Nothing group)
📗Everything We Didn’t Say (given to me by my mom)
📒The Actual Star (won in a Goodreads giveaway)
📗Fox and I (library cast off that I brought home)
📒The Mystery of Mrs. Christie (impulse buy when I was doing holiday shopping at Barnes & Noble)
📗The Presidents Daughter (picked up at the library sale)
📒The Duchess Countess (sent by publisher)
📗Sharing Ann’s Story (purchased because the Ann in the title is one of Jason’s extended family)

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Be sure to check out her weekly post to find other participants.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Over the years we’ve read many books about Dr. King (this is still my favorite) and on Saturday, his birthday we read Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr (it was okay). Today, we found another good one!

The Rabbi and the Reverand: Joachim Prinz, Martin Luther King Jr., and Their Fight against Justice by Audrey Ades, illustrated by Chiara Fedele. 4.5/5 stars, 32 pages, pub. 2021.

Gage already knows quite a bit about Martin Luther King Jr. and he took an hour long Outclass class about him this morning, so I was excited to find this picture book with a new approach.

In the Rabbi and the Reverend: Joachim Prinz, Martin Luther King Jr., and Their Fight against Silence is fantastic. Rabbi Prinz and his family had been kicked out of Nazi Germany for speaking out. In America he found the same kind of injustice in the South and he joined his voice to others in the civil rights fight, forming a friendship with King.

He spoke at the March on Washington and this was part of the speech included in the book. It’s something Gage and I talk about often.

“When I was the rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin under the Hitler regime, I learned many things. The most important thing that I learned…was that bigotry and hatred are not the most urgent problems. The most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shameful and the most tragic problem is silence. America must not remain silent.”

This Week ‘Back’ to Normal

Fave Pic

We had some fun with our cats on National Dress Up Your Pet Day this week. This is Razzi in all of his sophisticated glory.

Highlights of the Week My back started feeling almost normal by Friday.

I got pulled over after dropping Gage off at morning nature camp for a brake light that was out. I couldn’t provide proof of insurance and he still let me off with a warning. Yay me!

I signed up for Book Riot’s TBR service and am looking forward to seeing what they choose for me.

On the homeschool front, we started a real math curriculum (it’s a book, but with worksheets, lesson plans, and tests included) instead of me making the lessons myself and not only has it taken some of the stress off, but Gage is flying through. He’s tested out of the first 25 lessons so far and I’m sure he’ll continue to ace the tests for at least the next 20, so I’m feeling way more confident that what I was doing before was working.

Could’ve been better I was in considerable pain until Friday.

Currently reading

The Vanishing Half
BOSH!: How to Live VeganCharlotte's WebComfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teach…

Books I reviewed this week

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
An American Marriage
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
People We Meet on Vacation
Her Secret War by Pam Lecky
Her Secret War

Books read this year – 24

On TV

A Discovery of Witches (TV series).png
A Discovery of Witches, season 1 on Amazon Prime. I read the first book of the trilogy ages ago and didn’t remember many of the details, but Jason and I both enjoyed it. Looking forward to season 2.

Movies

Because of Winn-Dixie poster.JPG
Because of Winn-Dixie This is Gage’s new favorite book so he insisted we watch the movie. He assured me that they were almost the same.
Intrusion 2021 film poster.png
Intrusion on Netflix

Completed puzzles

Plans for the weekend

Hoping to spend some time outside in the sunshine. What about you?

An American Marriage & People You Meet On Vacation

In addition to Her Secret War, I read two more great fiction books this week! Have you read any of these? What did you think?

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry. 4 stars. 364 pages, Published 2021

People We Meet on Vacation was everywhere last year and I finally got around to a listen/read. I loved the friendship between opposites Poppy and Alex. As someone who had a best friend of the opposite sex in college and beyond I loved the banter and the love.

As Poppy found herself having everything she wanted, but still not being happy she decided that making up with Alex was a good first step. The story hops from past to present so that we find out what happened to break their friendship.

A fun modern romance even if I wish more of that lightheartedness would have carried through to the end.

This was the Goodreads Award Winner for Best Romance.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. 4.5 stars. 308 pages. Published 2018

What a great way to start my reading year! Inspired by part of a real conversation she heard at a restaurant in Atlanta. “Would you have waited seven years for me?” And the response “But it would not happen to you.” gets to the heart of this tested marriage.

From the very first pages I felt like I knew Roy and Cecilia. There was an exchange of letters explaining the current situation and then a look back at their upbringing and marriage. Their story was raw and poignant. It’s also the story of Atlanta and all that it means to them both.

If your spouse of 1 1/2 years was falsely imprisoned for 12 years how would you go on? If you like stories about marriage I highly recommend this book. I wish it had gone further in the end, but was still enraptured in their relationship and the secondary characters, especially Roy’s dad.

Her Secret War by Pam Lecky

Her Secret War by Pam Lecky. 4.5 stars. 384 pages. Published 2021.

A moment that ruins her life

On 31st May 1941, Germany drops bombs on neutral Dublin and Sarah Gillespie loses her family and home that fateful night. Days later, the man she loves leaves Ireland to enlist in the RAF.

A decision that changes her life

With nothing to keep her in Ireland and a burning desire to help the war effort, Sarah seeks refuge with relatives in Hampshire, England. But before long, Sarah’s family history catches up with her.

A mission that could cost her life

Sarah is asked to prove her loyalty to Britain through uncovering a spy at Vickers Supermarine, the manufacturers of the legendary Spitfire fighter plane. But to progress with her mission, she must become involved with a fifth columnist. And so the most dangerous game she’s ever played ensues…

from Goodreads

I thoroughly enjoyed this WWII historical fiction novel. This is not an era I’m drawn to, but this one hit the spot with it’s sympathetic and smart protagonist, warm characters, fast moving plot, and the addictive writing that keep me wanting to read more every time I had to put it down. There was even a twist that made me think we may see more of Sarah in the future.

Sarah hadn’t had an easy life. Her mother died when she was young, leaving Sarah to raise her little sister in a house with an abusive father. When Dublin is bombed the day after she breaks up with her boyfriend, she is left severely injured and alone. Thankfully she has family in England that takes her in and secures her a job. Just as she settles in, she is forced to prove her loyalty to her new country.

If you like historical fiction with a bit of excitement then this is the book for you!

I received an advanced reader copy of this book in return for my honest review. Thanks TLC Book Tours!

This Week – Jumping Back In!

Last year I spent so much time reading that I lost time for other things along the way, like these weekly checkins! I had the best of intentions today and then tweaked my back this morning and am in quite a bit of pain. Still in pain, but need to focus on something else so here I am!

Fave Pic

I always enjoy the colors through the trees as the sun goes down. No filters or enhancements needed.

Highlight of the week I started intermittent fasting and have given up alcohol for the month and those two things shaved off almost 5 pounds!

Also, I’ve decided to continue last year’s book a day challenge, but in a way more relaxed way. I plan to utilize picture books and can count mini-series, like Stay Close, for books I’ve read. So far I’ve read 14 books and watched one. I’d just like to make it a lifestyle and we’ll see how it goes. If that means I’m reading a picture book to Gage some nights, all the better!

Could’ve been better It’s time for Gage’s ETR and IEP and that meant in-person assessments at his old speech therapist’s office and the school. The assessments were fine, but the dozens of pages I must now fill out is not fun.

Currently reading

Her Secret War
BOSH!: How to Live Vegan

Posts this week

First Book

January Intentions and The Comfort Book by Matt Haig

It’s Raining Kids Books

On TV

Emily In Paris, season 2 This Netflix series is one of those guilty pleasures that I really don’t feel guilty about at all! Paris in all of it’s outrageous beauty.

Stay Close the Netflix series based on the book by Harlan Coben. Jason and I have felt ho-hum about the last few Coben adaptations so we were excited that this was one of the better ones. We both really liked it.

Movies

The Unforgiveable.jpeg
Love Wedding Repeat.jpg
Jingle All the Way poster.JPG

Plans for the weekend

Moving as little as possible and hoping my back decides to start acting right.

Linking Up with the Sunday Salon

It’s raining kids books

It’s been a great week for picture books! I read the 7 picture book finalists for this year’s Cybils Awards, but since I’m a judge I can’t give my thoughts until the winner is announced. Check them out here.

Loved

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters
Of Thee I Sing by Barack Obama, illustrated by Loren Long. 40 pages, pub. 2010

Obama writes about the traits of his daughters (and all Americans) based on those who have come before us. Qualities like the strength found in Helen Keller and the pride in America found in George Washington. He also featured ten others. Beautiful illustrations too. This is not a political book, but an American one.

Really Liked

Ticktock Banneker's Clock
Ticktock Banneker’s Clock by Shana Keller, illustrated by David C Gardner. 32 pages, pub. 2016

In the 1700’s Benjamin Banneker built a clock with a bell (called a striking bell) to sit on a mantle using only his own drawings and a knife (the bell he purchased). Perfectly shows that ingenuity is just as important as good schooling and money.

Fake News (21st Century Skills Library: Global Citizens: Modern Media)
Fake News: Global Citizens: Modern Media by Wil Mara. 32 pages, pub. 2018

How to mark the anniversary of January 6 in our homeschooling day? By spending over an hour studying fake news, who spreads it and the damage it causes, like January 6 when it almost derailed the foundation of our government.

This book was excellent. It’s short, but up to date with social media dangers and real examples of the harm it does to the world as a whole. A great current resource for worthwhile discussion.

Good

¡Mambo Mucho Mambo! the Dance That Crossed Color Lines
Mambo Mucho Mambo! by Dean Robbins, illustrated by Eddie Velesquez. 40 pages, published by 2021

This book tells the story of how the multicultural mambo came to be in New York City. It showcased each of the cultures in their parts of the city beautifully. Great for showing different cultures coming together to make something new.