Monday, February 27, 2017

February Wrap-Up

So this month has been uneventful in the grand scheme, but I've been doing a bunch of little things. Like spending the first two weeks of the month mired in Dragon Age 2 so deep that I read very little.

Oh, and scrapping the superheros story I was working on and returning to fantasy with a story I'm loving! (I do plan to let you know about it, maybe even as soon as next month, because the writing is going unbelievably well and I have plot and characters and worldbuilding that I'm going crazy with.)

And, finally, this month was my birthday. I didn't do anything different for it, but I never do anymore so it was nice. And quiet. My birthdays are much quieter now than they used to be when the whole family would get together.

We have been really, unseasonably warm this winter, but this month was crazy. We've had days that top out over eighty degrees - which is like almost twice as warm as it should be.

What I've been reading...

World of Warcraft: Mage by Richard A. Knaak - **
One Indulgence by Lydia Gastrell - ****
Starflight by Melissa Landers - ***** - Review on 3/10

Stalking Darkness by Lynn Flewelling - *****
Hexmaker by Jordan L. Hawk - *****
A Seditious Affair by K.J. Charles - ****

A-Force: Warzones by G. Willow Wilson - *****
The Siren Depths by Martha Wells - *****

What I've been watching...

Honestly, very little. My video games and books have been a ton more interesting than anything I've been watching on TV, so some nights I haven't even gotten one show watched. And my writing has taken precedence over watching anything too. I do plan to get some of my almost finished shows actually, you know, finished soon, so next month I might have this section filled.

How was your February? Read any of these books? Watch anything good, because I totally need some new shows, I think!

Friday, February 24, 2017

February Book Haul

This month was a little light on the book buying for me, with good reason. Actually, several reasons. I spent so much last month on books; I've not been reading a lot (though it's not been too shabby); I spent most of the first two weeks mired in Dragon Age 2 and not even thinking about books.

So, what I've bought this month...

A Seditious Affair by K.J. Charles
Once Upon a Wager by Julie LeMense
Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones

(Funny, three romance novels all bought the day after valentines.)

I also have two books on order and they should get here before the end of the month.

Timekeeper by Tara Sim
Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

And then for my birthday - after my mother was awesome and asked me for a list of what I wanted for my birthday! - I got:

Champion of the Rose by Andrea K. Host
Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan
A Vanishing Glow by Alexis Radcliff

Have you read any of these books?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Today's My Birthday - So Here's a Tag to Get to Know me a Little Better

As you might have guessed, today is my birthday. I'd been thinking and thinking about a special post to do for today - and instead of my other main ideas that just seemed like too typical (like a list of favorite books) or too chore-like (a list of things I want to do/read before I turn another year older) I decided to let all of you get to know a little more about me.

What is your middle name?
Marie. I used to want it to be Maria, but now I'm actually pretty happy with it. (And Amy Maria just sounds odd!)

What was your favorite subject at school?
Science. Before math got strange (what is Algebra even?) I liked it too. Same with language before diagramming a sentence cropped up. I also liked history if it covered things from over a thousand years ago. But science was my true love all through school.

What is your favorite drink?
Cream soda. (I especially adore Zevia brand soda because it's sugar free and doesn't have any of those nasty chemical sweeteners that grow third eyes onto worms.)

What is your favorite song at the moment?

Fire Escape by Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
I honestly have loved everything I've heard of his so far and...I think...this might be my favorite to date.

What is your favorite food?
Curry. And wontons. And pizza.

Favorite book of all time?
I...don't actually have one. The books I used to call my favorites just don't do it for me anymore. My current favorite book though is An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows. I am obsessed with that book. Oh, and Martha Wells Books of the Raksura series. Those are awesome too.
Favorite Color?
Green. And grey. And blue. And black.

Do you have any pets?
Not currently. This is the first time in my life since I was about five that I've not had at least a dog. But, you know, it's kind of nice not having to be responsible for an animal.

Favorite holiday?
Halloween. Without a doubt. I love the spooky-ness and the atmosphere. October is also my favorite month and fall is my favorite season.

Are you married?
Nope. Never plan to get married, either.

Have you ever been out of the country, if so how many times?
Never. In fact, in my memory, I know of no time that I was even a hundred miles away from where I now live. (My family moved across three states when I was less than a year old, but since then, we've never lived further than a mile from where I do right now.) There's plenty of places I'd like to go, but I think I'm probably too much of a homebody for it to ever happen.

Do you speak any other language?
I'm definitely not fluent in anything but English - and sometimes not even that - but I know a little Japanese and can usually roughly translate written French. Otherwise, I wouldn't starve in Mexico. Or Germany.

How many siblings do you have?
Two, a brother and a sister, both older.

When was the last time you cried?
You know, I don't remember. I remember the circumstances; I was reading something and I was already a little emotional, but whatever it was just totally set me off. I'm not usually a crier though.

Favorite Movie?
Pacific Rim. And Guardians of the Galaxy. But mostly Pacific Rim.

Favorite TV show?
It's currently Babylon 5. I say currently because it's been ages since I've rewatched any of the show and...I've noticed that my tastes have changed and that the stuff that I could mostly ignore before leaves me impatient and complaining now. But I think it'll probably stay Babylon 5.

PC or Mac?
PC. Never owned a Mac, but there's just so many things that don't run on them from what I've heard.
Can you cook?

Yup - and I'm pretty good at it too, if I do say so myself. I like cooking more than baking, to be honest, because I like being able to sample as I cook and add more if the food needs it.

I actually liked these questions and totally tag anyone that's interested. Now, I'd say I'm off to eat cake, but I'd have to make it myself because I've got that whole gluten free thing going on and I simply don't have the energy for it. Maybe I'll eat one of those Daiya gluten free/dairy free cheesecakes. Those are awesome.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Top Ten Books I Liked More Than I Expected

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Shockingly enough, I actually decided to talk about the good things today. I get to talk about those wonderful surprises where I wasn't fully convinced about a book before I started reading it.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Thoughts on Het & Gay Romances (and Begging for Lesbian Suggestions)

Towards the end of last year, I got totally hooked on M/M romances. Now, I mean there are some that are just as terrible and horrific as some of the M/F romances I've read - and I would assume, the F/F romances but I've not read enough of them yet to really feel that I can comment.

Now I probably read more gay romances than straight and I got to thinking about why that is. It's not what I originally thought - or probably what you're thinking. It isn't even the fact that there seems to be a lower number of creepy-ass alphaholes in these books. (Though there totally is less.)

It's the switch in dynamics.

Most straight romances follow a character template of super-masculine guy that just oozes testosterone everywhere he goes and a more demure woman. Demure is a good word for it especially in historicals. In contemporary (and possibly fantasy) inexperience would be a better word. There's a lot of blushing on her part, usually.

(I'm certainly not saying always, because there are some authors that write straight romance that I would follow anywhere because they don't follow this pattern.) Then they hate each other but then they gradually realize this is just unresolved sexual tension.

However, what I've found in gay romances haven't been like this at all. Usually both guys are somewhat experienced. (I mean, after all, a man's not a virgin! Unless he sometimes is…) And, even if he's not that experienced, there's a good deal less blushing.

Sometimes it's best friends having a natural progression to lovers, other times it's enemies to lovers, but most of the ones I've read and loved, it's more of an acquaintances to almost-friends to lovers.

And then there's the fact that so many straight romances are unequal. I mean, even now in this day and age, sexism is still a thing. Until it's not anymore, it's always going to reflect that in books. But I've read a lot of 'romance' novels where the guy coddles the girl. There's so many things she 'can't' do because - well, he loves her and doesn't want her to get hurt so he'll take care of her.

But, in a gay romance, the guys work together. (At least, the good ones. Novels, I mean - but guys, too.) There's more a feel of equality and that they truly rely on each other. I love that. I love the couples (any combination) that stand beside each other in support.

Sadly, this is something that isn't very common in straight romances - but if it was? I'd love them. So much.

Your thoughts? Do you read M/M or gay romances? Or F/F or lesbian romances? (because if you read them, I so want suggestions!) Do you read straight romances? Have you noticed any of this? Or am I totally hallucinating? (Don't answer that.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Top Ten Least Favorite Romance Tropes

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

It is only now that I wished I kept track of what tropes showed up in my romance novels. But, then again, I don't read a lot of romances, so I'm not sure I could even come up with ten that all use the same trope. So, I decided to be typical and all down on romance like usual and do a list of my least favorite romance-y tropes.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Five Favorite Couples from Romance Novels

Surprising myself more than a little, I find myself actually wanting to talk about my favorite couples from romance novels. That's a little unexpected, especially if you know me, but lately I've read some really great couples. (I almost made this favorite romance novels, but this list is a little different than that one would be.) So, in celebration of Valentines Day tomorrow, here's my five current favorite couples from romance novels!

Issac & Laurent
Empty Net by Avon Gale

This is definitely my favorite in the series so far and I just adore both these guys so much and they are wonderful and complicated together.

Joanna & Diana
Pembroke Park by Michelle Martin

Both these women are such fun apart and when they're together, there's a lot of quick wit and lots of great conversations.

Rakel & Farrin
Heart of Ice & Sacrifice
by K.M. Shea

I love both these characters so much - like a crazy amount - and I adore the fact that they actually start out as enemies for very good reasons.

Jack & Oliver
The Soldier's Scoundrel by Cat Sebastian

I don't often say that the couple in a romance are perfect for each other - but these two guys are. (Partially because no one else would put up with them.)

Thalia & Gabriel
Warrior by Zoe Archer

While I like both characters, it's the dynamics of this relationship that makes me love it. Both are very strong, independent characters and it's great seeing them rely on each other.

Now, beyond the great romance, I genuinely liked all these books (came close to loved and obsessed over for a few of them) and would totally recommend them to anyone! What are some of your favorite romances.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Review: An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows

An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows
Series: The Manifold Worlds #1
Genre: Fantasy/LGBT+
Add on Goodreads

When Saffron Coulter stumbles through a hole in reality, she finds herself trapped in Kena, a magical realm on the brink of civil war.

There, her fate becomes intertwined with that of three very different women: Zech, the fast-thinking acolyte of a cunning, powerful exile; Viya, the spoiled, runaway consort of the empire-building ruler, Vex Leoden; and Gwen, an Earth-born worldwalker whose greatest regret is putting Leoden on the throne. But Leoden has allies, too, chief among them the Vex’Mara Kadeja, a dangerous ex-priestess who shares his dreams of conquest.

Pursued by Leoden and aided by the Shavaktiin, a secretive order of storytellers and mystics, the rebels flee to Veksh, a neighboring matriarchy ruled by the fearsome Council of Queens. Saffron is out of her world and out of her depth, but the further she travels, the more she finds herself bound to her friends with ties of blood and magic.

Can one girl – an accidental worldwalker – really be the key to saving Kena? Or will she just die trying?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

T5W - There's a certain trend that I love seeing

Top 5 Wednesday is a group on goodreads that you can find here. Every week - or less for some of us ;) - the members get together and post five books that pertain to a specific topic.

Today's topic was actually supposed to be 'books tends I'm tired of seeing' but the simple fact is, I don't know of any trends (besides the love triangle that everyone talks about). This is probably because I don't read a lot of the 'new, hot thing' in books. I've tried them but...let's just say they usually don't work well for me.

So, instead of trying and most likely failing to come up with five trends I'm tired of, I decided to make mention of the one trend that I'm seeing a lot more of in 2017. (And even a little in 2016.)


If you look as some of the upcoming books in 2017, there is an almost miraculous amount of diversity to be found. I've found books that feature POC, culture that isn't white, gay/lesbian romance and I've been hearing talk of disabled characters as well as a few that feature various religions.

The simple fact is, all the people that always ask for/demand diversity in books deserve a huge thank you - and the authors that have been listening deserve applause.

I'd love to hear what diverse (in any way) book you're most looking forward to this year!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Top Ten Books I Wish Had Less Romance

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

It wasn't as easy as it should have been for me to decide what to do for this topic. I almost went with ten books I wish had more diversity - but then that would be like - what? - 80% of the books I read? So, I decided to go this way instead. While I do find myself reading romance novels, I don't usually like romance of any sort in my books. So... Books that I think would have been better without the romance... Won't this be fun?

Monday, February 6, 2017

I Finally Reduced My TBR! But…

For a good portion of last year, I was working on reducing my physical TBR stack. It was a lot of work, but by the time December was half-way over, I had gotten it down from over a hundred books to a mere handful. I was so super proud of myself.

Then I discovered something.

I like having a TBR stack that's in danger of burying me alive. I like all those options. All those choices and hair-pulling frustration of 'what the hell do I read now'.

I can't explain it because I thought I'd be super happy that I no longer had a TBR that was either gathering dust or in danger of toppling on me at any moment - depending on how interested I was in the book in question.

But then, the more I read and the less I bought…I started feeling anxious.

What happens if I run out of books to read? (Now, I know that's a totally impossibility, because if all else fails, I could reread. But, trust me, seeing only four-six books on my desk that I hadn't read, I don't believe I was thinking rationally.)

Last year I dealt with enough of the 'this TBR is too huge' and 'I'm NEVER going to be able to read all these books' that I never thought I'd have this problem.

Needless to say, I promptly went and spent the better part of two weeks pay on books and currently, I feel much better. Now I'm back to the 'I've got too many choices and I don't know what I want to read' - where I've been since I started blogging!

And, oddly, I feel much happier. (I've also been buying my books a little more cautiously, so I don't have books that I buy, completely loose interest in and then that start gathering dust. I hope.)

I'd love to know if anything like this has ever happened to you. Have you ever gotten your TBR down only to discover you hate not having CHOICES? Or have you been unable to ever reduce your TBR? (And I bet me talking like this isn't encouraging you to try harder!)

Do you like having tons of choices when it comes to books? Or do you prefer to only buy a few and then promptly read them?

Friday, February 3, 2017

I'm Not Doing A TBR This Month

Usually at the beginning of each month, I pull together a stack/list of books (5-8 most often) that I want to read during the month. Well, the last few months, I've not been holding to that TBR very well.

So, this month I've decided to skip that.

This month I'm going to do a little test and see if I like it better not having any sort of 'I should read' in my head.

This is partially because I've been grabbing totally random books lately - like books I hardly even planned to buy/read. Also, my birthday is this month and I think I'll be getting books and might just want to dive into them right away. (Also, I have a book that I think I'll be preordering that I'll be reading as soon as I get it.)

This will be an experiment for me so I can see if I like the lack of structure for my reading or not.

Do you make TBR's or are you more of a 'seat of your pants' reader?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

February Releases

It might be partially in response to my very short list last month, but this month there are a lot of books releasing that I am interested in.

Releases February 7th

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
Rhee, also known as Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, is the sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty. She’ll stop at nothing to avenge her family and claim her throne.

Aly has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. But when he’s falsely accused of killing Rhee, he's forced to prove his innocence to save his reputation – and his life.

With planets on the brink of war, Rhee and Aly are thrown together to confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy.

A saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.

Releases February 14th

The Forbidden Fortress by Diana Peterfreund
Gillian Seagret is not having a great summer. Her mother’s come back from Asia with plans to move Gillian and her brother across the country, and her conspiracy theorist father is away promoting his new book on Omega City—without her! Though Gillian and her friends were the ones to find the lost doomsday bunker, no one seems care about their thoughts on the whereabouts of its creator, Dr. Aloysius Underberg, or even learning the truth about the Shepherds, a mysterious organization ready to stop at nothing to keep Underberg—and Omega City—a secret.

All that changes when Gillian and her friends are invited to speak at a lecture series at Guidant—an advanced technology company. Gillian feels like they’re finally being recognized for their adventures. The Guidant campus is full of wonders, from self-driving cars to robot waiters, and the future-focused employees seem like worthy heirs to innovators like Dr. Underberg.

But there are secrets here, too—a radio station that plays nothing but coded numbers, and an island that doesn’t appear on any map. And when Gillian and her friends uncover evidence that the Shepherd conspiracy goes deeper than anyone suspected, it’s up to them to infiltrate the Shepherds’ secret base and expose them… before it’s too late.

Releases February 21st

The Dragon's Price by Bethany Wiggins
When two warring kingdoms unified against a deadly menace laying waste to both their lands, they had to make a choice: vow to marry their heirs to one another, or forfeit their lives to the dragon.

Centuries later, everyone expects the sheltered princess Sorrowlynn to choose the barbarian prince over the fire-breathing beast—everyone, that is, except Sorrow, who is determined to control her own destiny or die trying.

As she is lowered into the dragon’s chamber, she assumes her life is over until Golmarr, the young prince she just spurned, follows her with the hopes of being her hero and slaying the dragon. But the dragon has a different plan. . . .

If the dragon wins, it will be freed from the spell that has bound it to the cave for centuries. If Sorrow or Golmarr vanquish the dragon, the victor will gain its treasure and escape the cave beneath the mountain. But what exactly is the dragon hiding?

There are no safe havens for Sorrow or Golmarr—not even with each other—and the stakes couldn’t be higher as they risk everything to protect their kingdom.

Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas
Freya was never meant be queen. Twenty third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.

Freya may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, Freya knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom – and her life.

Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisors. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her, but also wanted more power for himself.

As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.

Releases February 28th

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
If you want something done right . . .

When the ruthless pirate king learns of a legendary treasure map hidden on an enemy ship, his daughter, Alosa, knows there's only one pirate for the job—herself. Leaving behind her beloved ship and crew, Alosa deliberately facilitates her own kidnapping to ensure her passage on the ship, confident in her ability to overcome any obstacle. After all, who's going to suspect a seventeen-year-old girl locked in a cell? Then she meets the (surprisingly perceptive and unfairly attractive) first mate, Riden, who is charged with finding out all her secrets. Now it's down to a battle of wits and will . . . . Can Alosa find the map and escape before Riden figures out her plan?

I'm definitely most excited for Long May She Reign because I simply cannot wait to see if I love Rhiannon Thomas' new book as much as her previous duology. Beyond that, all these books sound so good that I'd be hard pressed to decide which one I'm most interested in.

What books are you excited for this month?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

T5W - Current Favorite Songs

Top 5 Wednesday is a group on goodreads that you can find here. Every week - or less for some of us ;) - the members get together and post five books that pertain to a specific topic.

For today's topic it was left open for all non-book favorites and I came really, really close to going with TV shows. But, instead, I decided to list the five songs that I am currently listening the hell out of.

Thousand Foot Krutch - Incomplete

Steve Grand - Soakin' Wet

Neon Trees - Love in the 21st Century

Jars of Clay - Dead Man (Carry Me)

Kacey Musgraves - Follow Your Arrow

Let me know what you've been listening to lately because I'm always looking for new music!