The Sunshine Blogger Award

Hello, reader!

For today’s post, I’m tackling catching up on tags and participating in a fun blogger award at the same time! I’ll be doing The Sunshine Blogger Award and I’ll be doing it big! Because I was tagged by not one, not two, but three of my wonderful blogging compatriots. Seriously, Leah @ Leah’s Books, Livy @ Shelves of Starlight, and Danni @ _ForBooksSake are some of the best folks in the blogging community 💖 I love each of their bookish blogs, so you should definitely check them out!

So I’m sure if you’ve been around the blogging community for any amount of time, you know about The Sunshine Blogger Award. It was created to boost those in the community who are “creative, positive, and inspiring while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.” I personally love it because I love learning more about the various bloggers I follow! Before I jump into answering Leah, Livy, and Danni’s questions, though, let’s take a look at…

The Rules

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog (Thank you, Leah and Livy and Danni!)
  • Answer the eleven questions prompted by the person who nominated you
  • Nominated eleven new bloggers to receive the award and write them eleven new questions
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog

Leah’s Questions

#1. If you could travel to one historical period, when would it be?

Honestly, being a Black woman, this question always makes me pause. Because if we think racism is bad now… That being said, I’d love to visit the Renaissance period when artist like Da Vinci were at work. There was just so much beautiful and creative work done during that time period! Or if I could go see a Shakespearean play at The Globe during the height of his fame, that would be incredible!

#2. What drew you to your favorite genre initially?

Gonna be honest and say the dragons. One of my favorite series as a kid was the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede. I was obsessed with those books and, once I had finished them, I snatched up anything dragon/fantasy adjacent. I haven’t looked back since! Fantasy is and will probably continue to be my favorite genre of all time.

Also, the princess in this series is legitimately one of my favorite heroines ever. Cimorene is awesome!

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Down The TBR Hole #4

Hello, reader!

I realized last night that I didn’t do a Down the TBR Hole round last week. I also added quite a few books to my TBR last week. I think I’m doing this wrong, lol. Let’s take a look at the numbers, shall we? On my last round of Down the TBR Hole, I ended up with 608 books on my Goodreads ‘Want To Read’ shelf. Today, I have 614 books… 😬

Let’s just be upfront, this is going to be an on-going theme, y’all 😂 Every time I finish one book, I feel like I add four more to the TBR! But it’s time to focus and see if we can pare the list back down a bit. On to round four!


Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Y’all, I don’t know why this book is on here. I mean… I do because I added a lot of classics to my TBR when I first joined Goodreads. At the same time, though, I really don’t know why I went with this particular one. I started yawning just reading the synopsis.

Hahaha, just kidding! But only a little… Though this book may be absolutely delightful, I’m just not feeling it.

Verdict: Remove

PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives by Frank Warren

Do you remember PostSecrets? Anyone? It was is (I didn’t realize it’s still a thing!) a website where people send in postcards with their deepest, darkest secrets. It was wildly popular a few years ago which lead to this and other books getting published. I always thought it was such an interesting concept, which is how it ended up on my TBR. As someone who spent a lot of time on the website, however, I feel like I have probably seen the postcards that would be found in this collection. Reading it at this point would be kind of redundant 🤷🏾‍♀️

Verdict: Remove

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#5OnMyTBR – Nonfiction

#5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook where you chose five books from your to-be-read pile that fit that week’s theme. If you’d like more info, head over to the announcement post!


Hello, reader!

We’ve arrived at another Monday, which means it is time for another 5 On My TBR! I always have such fun doing these because it makes me look at my TBR and remember some of the books that have been on there far too long. This is especially true for the books that fall into the theme for today: nonfiction books. I can enjoy a good nonfiction, but it is definitely not my go-to genre. I could probably count on one hand how many nonfictions I’ve read this year, heh. It’s basically the exact opposite of my preferred genre, so I have to be truly interested in the topic for a nonfiction to land on my TBR. With that said, I actually have quite a few that have piqued my interest! So let’s take a look at five nonfiction books on my TBR that I’m excited to read.


#1. The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America by Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson is definitely one of my favorite nonfiction authors. A Walk in the Woods is one of my all-time favorite books, period! He has a way of writing with humor and heart that I absolutely love. That’s why his book about travelling through the various small towns that are littered throughout the United States. I love reading about travelling and I know I love his writing style, so I feel like this one is gonna be a hit!

#2. Around the World in 80 Days by Michael Palin

Sticking to the travelling topic, this is one that has been on my TBR for ages! Little known fact about me: I’m a HUGE Monty Python fan. My dad absolutely loved their show so I grew up with them. I’ve seem almost all their movies and pretty much every episode of the show. So when I discovered this book written by one of my favorite members of Monty Python, I wanted to read it immediately! I love Michael Palin’s sense of humor and this book is also a companion to the PBS series that actually shows his adventures. Hopefully I’ll get to this one sooner than later.

#3. The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science by Douglas Starr

Another little fact about me: I love true crime shows. When we had cable, my favorite channel was the ID (Investigation Discovery) Channel. I’m slowly working my way through all the true crime shows on Netflix. It’s just my jam! Which sounds super morbid to say, but here we are 😅 I came across this book on Goodreads at one point or another and it sounded like it would be right up my morbid little alley! I haven’t read anything by Douglas Starr before so I’m not sure how I’ll get along with his writing style. Still, this book sounds incredibly fascinating!

#4. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

Y’all know how much I love a book about books, so you know this had to be on this list! It’s a book that is built on the corresponding between the author and a used-book dealer living in London. I feel like it would be so interesting to watch two people bond over the written word. I mean, that just speaks directly to my book-loving heart! I’ve heard great things about this one, as well, so I’m excited to give it a shot.

#5. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

I’ve owned this book for awhile and have wanted to read it for even longer. I’ve read a few essays by Roxane Gay and really enjoyed them, so I’m sure I’ll get on with the writing in this one. And the topic is so interesting! The way we view our bodies and our relationship with food just seems like it’ll be a really intriguing read. I’ve also heard great things about this book, so that makes me even more excited to read it! If I can get myself to stop buying more books and just read the ones that I already own, this will be one of the first ones I pick up!


What are some nonfiction books on your TBR that you can’t wait to read? Have you read any of the books on mine? Let me know in the comments!

And, as always, happy reading!

The Beauty and the Beast Book Tag

Hello, reader!

Like a lot of 80s and 90s kids, I’m a big fan of Disney animated movies. I grew up on movies like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. I remember when the movie Beauty and the Beast came out… I was OBSESSED. Seriously, I think my brother and I made our parents suffer through that movie more times than should be acceptable 😂 It was our Frozen. So I was super hyped when I was tagged to do the Beauty and the Beast Book Tag! Thank you so much to Riddhi @ Whispering Stories for tagging me. You should definitely go check out her blog, it is tons of fun!

Alright, let’s get started!


Rules:

  • Link back to the original creator (Kirsty @ Kirsty and the Cat Read) and the blog you first saw this post (I first saw it on Riddhi’s blog!)
  • Answer all the prompts
  • Tag at least 5 other bloggers
  • Have fun!

#1. Tale as Old as Time – A popular theme, trope, or setting you will never get bored of

BOOKS ABOUT BOOKS! Which, let’s be honest, is very on brand for this tag 😂 Y’all know Belle would love a book with bookish themes! Seriously, though, I cannot get enough of books that have some kind of bookish theme. It’s probably because I find it easy to connect with the bookish main characters and the themes just speak to my nerdy soul. Whatever it is, books about books are my happy place 💕 Some recent favorites would be The Starless Sea, Tilly and the Bookwanderers, and The Ten Thousand Doors of January.

#2. Belle – A book you bought for merely its cover that is just as beautiful on the inside

I knew next to nothing about The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen when I first spotted it at the library. The cover completely hooked me and I checked it out immediately. Thankfully, the book turned out to be just as amazing on the inside as it was on the outside! This book and the second in the duology, The Faithless Hawk, are now two of my favorite books of all time. I can’t wait to read whatever Margaret Owen writes next!

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WWW Wednesday: November 18, 2020

It’s time for another WWW Wednesday! This is a bookish meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words where bloggers answer the 3 Ws:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

If you’d like to learn more about any of these books, click on the cover to be taken to the Goodreads page.


Current Reads

  • The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang: The sequel to The Poppy War, which put me in such a massive book hangover last month that I couldn’t even get into this one! I’m eager to continue Rin’s story, but my brain apparently needed to fully digest the first book first. Thankfully, my reading has picked back up and I think I’m ready to go back in. Now I’m nervous that this book will cause another book hangover 😅
  • Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier: Look at me reading a classic and actually enjoying it! I’m reading this “classic tale of romantic suspense” for a book club and I think they are part of the reason I’m liking it so much. Our conversations about this book are so much fun and, frankly, hilarious 😂 Still, I can admit that I’m liking the writing style, even if I want to fight half the characters. I’m looking forward to this getting steadily more creepy!
  • Shadows of Winterspell by Amy Wilson: Y’aaaalllll, this book is so whimsical, I love it! This is the Middle Grade Monthly pick for November and it is such a delight. I find it hard to stop myself after reading the section for the week, lol. I mean, I know I could keep reading, but I have a bad habit of immediately yeeting book information from my brain once I finish it. I’m trying to stick to the schedule so I can actually participate in the chats! This is definitely one of my favorite picks, though, and I never would have heard of it if it weren’t for this book club 💖
  • Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin: I finally got a library card for our new local library (we moved in the middle of lockdown, so I couldn’t go and pick one up as soon as we were settled) and I picked up my first hold the other day! I was interested in reading this book as I enjoyed the first one, Serpent & Dove, but not enough for me to actually purchase it. So I’m glad I was able to borrow it and give it a shot. So far, I kind of want to slap every. single. character. Or shake them so they will stop being RIDICULOUS! But I am enjoying myself so… *shrug*

Recently Finished

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
  • No Truth Left to Tell by Michael McAuliffe: This is one of the books that had been on my Currently Reading shelf the longest. The sense of accomplishment I felt when I finally finished it was immense! It wasn’t like it was a long book or even a bad one… it was just in a genre that I’m slowly learning is not my cup of tea. Still, I enjoyed the plot and I thought the end packed a punch. You can read my full review HERE.
  • Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee: This was the Middle Grade Monthly pick for October which I, unfortunately, didn’t finish until November 😅 Book hangovers are no joke, y’all! Once I shook off the funk and dived back in, though, I practically flew through this book! It was so good! I was rooting for Min from beginning to end and I loved watching her on her journey. I’m a little sad this is a standalone because I would love to follow Min on all of her adventures!
  • The Black Sky by Timothy D. Minneci: This was the other book that was on my Currently Reading list for an embarrassingly long time, heh. Though I ended up enjoying it, I think it suffered from the same thing as No Truth Left to Tell… it wasn’t my cup of tea. I mean, it is sci-fi, but it has a more militaristic leaning that, while interesting, kind of turned me off. I dunno… I’m still compiling my thoughts on this one.

What’s Next

  • White Fox by Sara Faring: In an attempt to work on my Netgalley shelf (😬), I want to pick up this creepy sounding book soon. I wanted to read it during spooky season, but time just got away from me. It sounds properly frightening, though, and I’m looking forward to finally picking it up! A missing mom, a mysterious island, strange clues hidden in screenplay… it promises to be an interesting ride.
  • The Cousins by Karen M. McManus: Ooooohhhh yeeeaaaaah, it’s time for another #TheWriteReads tour! And this time it’s for one of my most anticipated books of the year! Karen M. McManus is swiftly becoming one of my favorite thriller authors. I’ve heard nothing but good things during this tour, so far, so I’m extra excited to read this one!

That’s it for another WWW Wednesday! What have you read recently? What are some books up next on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

And, as always, happy reading!

#5OnMyTBR – Black Cover

#5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook where you chose five books from your to-be-read pile that fit that week’s theme. If you’d like more info, head over to the announcement post!

Hello, reader!

I’m back with another 5 On My TBR! This week I had a tough time choosing the five books I wanted to feature for this post. Why? Because the topic for this Monday is books with black covers and I, apparently, have a lot of books on my TBR with black covers 😂 It took a minute to sift through them all and pick five that I really wanted to talk about today. The books I have picked are a nice mix, I think, and I can’t wait to read all five of them! So let me get to this #5OnMyTBR 😁


#1. Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth

This one is a fairly recent add to the TBR. I noticed it on Goodreads as I was randomly scrolling the home page one day and decided to read the synopsis. And when the synopsis starts with this:

A highly imaginative and original horror-comedy centered around a cursed New England boarding school for girls—a wickedly whimsical celebration of the art of storytelling, sapphic love, and the rebellious female spirit.

How could I not want to read it?! It sounds incredible! Also, there are illustrations, so I’m just extra intrigued.

#2. Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

I have an e-ARC of this one that I am so eager to finally pick up. I’ve been hearing nothing but rave reviews about this fantasy novel. It has prophecies, political intrigue, magic… basically all the things I love in a fantasy! I also really enjoyed Rebecca Roanhorse’s short story in the recent vampire anthology, Vampires Never Get Old, so I’m eager to read more of her work! And this cover, y’all. This cover is just absolutely gorgeous!

#3. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Funny story: I work as a lab tech and I remember when I first heard about the company this book is about. I remember hearing the claims they were making about testing they could do with a single drop of blood and thinking “Yeah, that’s bullshit.” Turns out, it totally was! I’m intrigued about learning more about this failed company and how they tried to dupe the medical world. My best friend has read this and told me it’s probably gonna piss me off 😂 Exciting!

#4. There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool

I’ve been wanting to read this since 2019, when it first came out. I’ve owned it since September of 2019… and yet 😅 It just has a lot of elements that I feel like I’m going to enjoy. There’s a prophecy! There’s a gang of people thrown together by circumstances! There’s a badass female assassin! I mean, come on… it’s like it was specifically written for me, ya know? Also, the cover super got me with this one. It’s so pretty, I can’t. Now I just need to actually read it.

#5. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

V.E. Schwab is one of my favorite authors so of course her latest book is on my list. I’ve also heard a lot of great reviews for this book from bookish folks who have similar tastes to me. And it’s a book that has a bookish element! I just know I’m going to love this book and I can’t wait to finally read it. Perhaps in December? Perhaps now…?

Who knows! But this one will definitely be read sooner rather than later.


What are some books with black covers on your TBR that you can’t wait to read? Have you read any of the books on mine? Let me know in the comments!

And, as always, happy reading!

Book Review: No Truth Left to Tell by Michael McAuliffe

Title: No Truth Left to Tell

Author: Michael McAuliffe

Genre: 

Source: Publisher (Greenleaf Book Group Press)

Content/Trigger Warnings: KKK activity, cross burnings, racism, violence, death

Rating: ★★★

Book Links: Bookshop::Indiebound::TBD::B&N::Amazon::Goodreads

One Sentence Synopsis

Adrien Rush, a federal civil rights prosecutor, finds himself trying a case in Lynnwood, Louisiana after a night where five burning crosses are left around town to strike fear into the hearts of the minority community.

Favorite Quote

“Rush disliked being called counselor. Agents invoked the term using particularly clear diction and more than a hint of derision, or at least that’s how Rush saw it. Being labeled counselor was an agent’s way of emphasizing that the lawyer might have an advanced education, but the juris doctor degree didn’t come with street smarts or investigatory experience.”

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Down the TBR Hole #3

Hello, reader!

Normally, Mondays are the days that I do my #5OnMyTBR post. I felt like catching up on my Down the TBR post, though, since I didn’t do one last week. Mostly because of I was in a stress spiral that made me want to hide in my blankets whenever I was home, heh. But! Now my source of stress has been removed and I can get back to being a more functional human being!

That being said, let’s take a look at the status of my Want To Read shelf on Goodreads. Last round, I ended with 616 books on my shelf. As of today, there are 614 books on my shelf so… go me? I attribute this to the fact that I went through and got rid of some duplicates, which I need to remember to do more often. Either way, I’m doing well! Let’s see if we can cut that down even more!


The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Not gonna lie, I started this book at one point ages ago, had to return it to the library, and never finished it. But, what I did read I was really enjoying! This book just got lost in the shuffle that is my ever-changing, ever-expanding TBR. What I do know is that I definitely want to finish this book at some point in time.

Verdict: Keep

Choke by Chuck Palahniuk

I mentioned in my last Down the TBR post that I’m just not feeling the Palahniuk these days. I went through a phase where his brand of weirdness was something I could get behind. The last Palahniuk book I read, however, left me feeling very meh. After reading the synopsis for this one, I don’t think this is the book that will make me change my mind.

Verdict: Remove

Cujo by Stephen King

This is one of the classic King books that I’m just not sure about. On the one hand, I’m sure it’ll be horrifying. Just the thought of your dog going mad with rabies and murdering everyone makes me shudder. But I dunno if I want to read that. I have to say, of all of King’s old books, this is the lowest on my priority list. Soooo…

Verdict: Remove

The Tempest by William Shakespeare

I love Shakespeare. I’ve read quite a few of his plays. I took various classes dedicated to his plays in college.

And, yet, I have approximately ZERO interest in reading The Tempest. I don’t know what it is about this particular play, but it sounds like an absolute snoozefest. And this is coming from someone who loves Shakespeare’s histories. Maybe one day I’ll change my mind, but, for now…

Verdict: Remove

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams

This is the second book in the Dirk Gently series. I read the first book AGES ago and, honestly, remember absolutely nothing about it. Well… I remember liking it, but that’s it. That being said, I think I need to re-read the first book before continuing with the series and, until that happens, I guess book number two can stay. Now, if/when I do re-read the first book and I end up not liking it, this one will probably drop off the TBR.

Verdict: Keep

Under the Dome by Stephen King

Another Stephen King! Spoiler alert: there are two more before I’m done with this Down the TBR 😂 I remember at some point in my 20s, I decided that I wanted to read ALL of Stephen King’s books, not realizing just how prolific he is as a writer. So I added a ton on Goodreads, without really knowing what half of them were about. This is one of the ones that I wasn’t sure about but, after reading the synopsis, it’s one I’m definitely interested in.

Verdict: Keep

Timeline by Michael Crichton

I have no idea how this book ended up on my TBR. I did love Jurassic Park, so perhaps I added it because this is the same author? Either way, after reading the synopsis, I wasn’t sure about keeping it around. Time travel in books can be very hit or miss for me. But a lot of my Goodreads friends have rated it five stars, so now I’m intrigued.

Verdict: Keep

Dreamcatcher by Stephen King

He’s back! And this one I remember adding when I realized it was where the movie of the same name came from. The movie was terrible. I was hoping the book would be much better. After reading the synopsis and looking at some reviews, though, this may not be the case… Either way, I’ve lost all interest in picking this one up.

Verdict: Remove

Christine by Stephen King

And again! Honestly, I have a lot of King on my TBR, lol. Though this one is a classic, it is legit about a killer car and, like… bleh. It’s not even in the top five of King books I want to read. It just doesn’t sound like something I’m going to enjoy, so I think this is one I’ll give a pass.

Verdict: Remove

The Salmon of Doubt by Douglas Adams

This is a bit of a weird one. I thought it was the third book in the Dirk Gently series, but it appears to be a biography… memoir… thing? And I’m not a huge fan of most memoirs, if I’m being honest. I do love Douglas Adams… but I think I’m gonna give this one a miss for now.

Besides, even if this is the third Dirk Gently, I haven’t even read the second (see above)!

Verdict: Remove


And now for the numbers!

Starting total: 614
Removed: 6
End total: 608

We’re almost under 600, y’all! I did quite a purge this round. I never realized how many books I have on my TBR that I have no interest in anymore, lol. I’m excited to have another round done. I’ll see you next week!

And, as always, happy reading!

October 2020 Wrap Up

Hello, reader!

It’s that time again to look back at how my reading went last month. I’m gonna tell you right now… it wasn’t great in October 😅 I hit a pretty bad reading slump last month. Absolutely nothing could hold my interest! Not even The Dragon Republic, which I was dying to read! But we’ll talk about it in a moment.

First, let’s take a look back at what I read in the month of October.


Books Read


Click on the covers to be taken to the book’s Goodreads page

  1. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang::★★★★★
  2. Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger::★★★★
  3. The Wolf and the Water by Josie Jaffrey::★★★★::My review
  4. Sentience by Courtney P. Hunter::★★★★::My review
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Blog Tour: The Fires of Vengeance by Evan Winter

Hello, reader!

Back in July of 2019, my family and I had just moved cross-country to Massachusetts. We had moved into our apartment, but none of our stuff was there. We were sleeping on air mattresses and sitting in those cloth folding chairs that you can never get back into their flimsy, little holders. It was a stressful time, but I had something with me that first month that helped me relax. I had an ARC of Evan Winter’s The Rage of Dragons. I had won it in a giveaway hosted by Orbit on their Instagram, not knowing much about it beyond the fact that it was written by a Black man and it had dragons. So, when I picked up during that stressful first month in our new home, I don’t think I was fully prepared for the incredible story contained within those pages. I flew through that ARC and knew before I was even halfway through that I was going to give it five stars. I also knew that I would fight the demons of Ishihogo to get my hands on the sequel!

Fast forward to this past summer, when Shealea @ Caffeine Book Tours put a call out to the bookish community for people would like to be part of #TheBurningTour for The Fires of Vengeance, the sequel I was so desperate to read. I don’t think I’ve ever filled out a form so fast! And you could have knocked me over with a feather when I was selected to be a part of the tour! So, before we get into the meat of this post, I wanted to take a moment to thank Shealea @ Caffeine Book Tours and the publisher, Orbit, for this opportunity. There are also a lot of other incredible bookish content creators on this tour, as well, so click here to take a look at the schedule. Also, we might as well get some disclaimers out of the way.

First, as you’ve probably figured out, I did receive an ARC of The Fires of Vengeance from Caffeine Book Tours and Orbit in exchange for my participation in this promotional tour. Second, as this is a review for the second book in a series, there might be some slight spoilers for the content of the first book within my review. If you haven’t read The Rage of Dragons (um, why haven’t you?) and wish to, perhaps skip this post until you have. This review, however, will be spoiler free for The Fires of Vengeance. And, last, stick with me until after my review for information about an amazing giveaway 🎉🎉🎉

Alright, with all that said, let’s get to it!


Synopsis


“Desperate to delay an impending attack by the indigenous people of Xidda, Tau and his queen craft a dangerous plan. If Tau succeeds, the queen will have the time she needs to assemble her forces and launch an all-out assault on her own capital city, where her sister is being propped up as the ‘true’ Queen of the Omehi.

If the city can be taken, if Tsiora can reclaim her throne and reunite her people, then the Omehi might have a chance to survive the coming onslaught.”

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