Friday, September 1, 2023

July/August 2023 Wrap Up

Hello all.

I had to do another combination post since I couldn't get my ducks in a row at the end of July. I am not even sure I kept good record of all the books I read? Can I blame pregnancy brain? I haven't really had many problems in that realm, but I should be able to milk this for something.

Pregnancy is weird, but so far so good. I'm 20 weeks in now.

We lost the last of our ratties. It is sad, but it is OK. I am going to take a little break before getting more rats (after we've moved and adjusted to life with baby, I think). I love rats so I miss having them. But we did get another kitten. She was a stray I'd been seeing around our building and started feeding. She eventually decided she liked me and I brought her in. Marshmallow has been getting along with her so here she is. We haven't named her yet, but that's OK. You can check out my Instagram for photos.

Work has basically been awful for the last couple of months. But that is all I am going to say about that. It's just been rough guys. Something needs to change, I am not sure how long I can keep going with the way things are. And that frustrates me because there is so much I love about my work, but the management is such a trial I think I am developing PTSD.

And then at the end of August, Kevin and I finally got COVID. After nearly four years of avoiding it, we both got it. It was a huge bummer. On the plus side, we were both fully vaccinated which helped us recover more quickly. I am still getting over mine though. It messed with my blood pressure and I haven't quite regained my equilibrium.

Anyway, here are the books I finished this month. Hopefully I remembered them all!

Titles: Mister Impossible and Greywaren
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Narrator: Will Patton
Synopsis/Thoughts: I just read these a few months ago, so I am not really going to talk about them again. I read them again and I still enjoyed them.
Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of 5 stars
Title: Little Women
Author: Louisa May Alcott

Synopsis/Thoughts: I have probably reviewed this one before, too. I'm sure it has been several years, but it is a classic and I think most people know what the story is about. I just wanted a comfort read and I just really wanted to read this again. And it was a very nice read.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars
Title: Divine Rivals
Author: Rebecca Ross
Narrators: Alex Wingfield and Rebecca Norfolk

Synopsis: Iris is an aspiring columnist at a local newspaper competing against equally driven Roman. With war waging and moving closer to home and her brother at the front with no news, life is a bit chaotic. When things shake out differently for Iris than she originally planned, she takes a job covering the war near the front and finds more than she bargained for. Especially when Roman joins her on the same assignment.
Thoughts: I did a combined reading/listening of this book. It is a fairly recent Owlcrate book, which I am trying to read more of. I enjoyed her last book, Dreams Lie Beneath, so I wanted to pick this one up. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I liked the characters and the overall story line. I am looking forward to the next book since this had a tiny cliffhanger and I need to know what happens next.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars 

Titles: The Foxhole Court, The Raven King, and The King's Men (All for the Game series)
Author: Nora Sakavic
Narrator: Alexander Cendese

Synopsis: Neil Josten is on the run from his father and the mob he is associated with (and any rivals for that matter). In a series of odd events, he ends up playing Exy, a game he loves, and getting signed by a college Exy team. Palmetto State's Exy foxes have a reputation for being the broken people collected by Coach Wymack. Neil decides to stay and play for one year, becoming entrenched in other strange dealings and relationships. But through it all, he finds a family and people he can actually trust and count on to have his back and to accept him no matter what dark secrets he hides. And maybe they can even win the season!

Thoughts: I have very... mixed thoughts about these books. I had been hearing about them because of the title of the second book being the same title as the last in the Raven Cycle. Anyway, I decided to give it a try. I actually was very interested in the (fictional) game of Exy, even though I am super not a sports person. And I LOVED the found family aspect of the books. I liked Neil's character, even if I didn't always agree with him. Kevin was an asshole, but I think he meant well and I appreciated his development. And Andrew. I love and hate Andrew at the same time. There were a lot of things that happened in these books (some perpetuated by Andrew) that made me feel very conflicted. I distinctly hated the way Andrew's crowd tested Neil (for someone so insane about consent, non-consensual drugging seemed SOO messed up). But Andrew's protective streak makes me love him. But he's also an asshole. Despite all of that, I actually thought the development of Neil and Andrew's relationship was nice and sort of sweet. Anyway, there were things I didn't love and there are definitely triggers for people, but the found family aspect (especially with the older team members and Coach Wymack) made me really love them. And they must have held my interest because I have continued to think about them and about the story.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5 stars for books one and two, 4 stars out of 5 stars for book three
Title: I Was Told it Would Get Easier
Author: Abbi Waxman
Narrators: Lisa Flanagan and Bailey Carr

Synopsis: Single, high-powered lawyer Jessica and her daughter, Emily, set out on a tour of colleges. Jessica is hoping that Emily will go to college, enjoy herself, and find her place. Emily has NO idea what any of that would look like. And spending so much time with her generally absent mother isn't her idea of a great time either.
Thoughts: I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I really liked Jessica and the mother-daughter story and how their relationship grew throughout the book. Overall it was a nice, uplifting read for fans of contemporary stories.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars 


Title: Thirteenth Child
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi

Synopsis/Thoughts: Another book I have read too many times and reviewed multiple times. These books are comfort reads and that's what I was looking for. I still love them so much.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

Favorite book read in July/August:  I'm not sure, there were so many good ones and it feels like cheating when so many of my comfort reads are in the mix
Least favorite book read in July/August: The Foxhole Court, since it got the lowest rating

I have now read 53 books towards my goal of 75. I only got one Owlcrate book read, but I am working on another one.

Sunday, July 9, 2023

May/June 2023 Wrap Up

And the delays continue. Life has been super hectic. I went to the wedding of a good friend at the beginning of May. Then Kevin and I had our Morocco trip starting in May into June. And once I got back, work has been utterly consuming most of my life (and not in good ways). I had lots of messes to clean up and nonsense to deal with. It's been, frankly, ugly. We had to put one of our rats, Eros, down right before we left for Morocco, which was sad but definitely the right choice. Then we lost Dion shortly after we got back and Apollo had a weird cancer that he needed pretty big surgery for. Then another friend's elopement that I was able to attend. Lots of good things and some bad things, too. But with all of that, I also have not had any energy to work on my blog. I have still been reading though. And there have been other things going on, which I do plan to share, just not quite yet.

I feel like I have some sort of excuses for being late every month (or every two months as the case may be). I want to keep my blog going and I have some other posts started (not finished). Life has just been crazy. Maybe that is just how life is now? Is this what it means to be a grown up??

I will try to give some quick reviews of the books I read in May and June here. Due to the tardiness of my post, I will keep them very breif.

Title: Dreams Lie Beneath
Author: Rebecca Ross
Narrator: Chloe Dolandis
Synopsis/Thoughts: This was an Owlcrate book and I listened to the audiobook some of the time and read the physical book the rest of the time. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit, maybe more than I expected. Every new moon, nightmares stalk the streets in the kingdom of Azenor. The magical wardens are tasked with collecting information on nightmares and defeating them each new moon. Clementine is posed to take over her father's warden-ship when a couple of brothers take his position. To get revenge, Clem disguises herself and becomes the assistant to one of the brothers, Phelan. But the dreams they are fighting are more complicated than they realize and they may need to join forces to uncover the truth.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

Title: The Raven Cycle series
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Narrator: Will Patton
Synopsis/Thoughts: OK, I know I just read these back in March. But I just wasn't ready to leave this world. And I may have some Ronan obsession problems. I even have a character playlist. I don't know if I want to talk about it. But I just love these books.
Rating: 5 stars out of 5 stars
Title: The Sun and the Star
Authors: Rick Riordan and Mark Oshiro
Narrator: A.J. Beckles

Synopsis/Thoughts: I really like Nico and Will and I was glad to see the story of Bob re-visited and completed. I was exciting for this book, but there were some things that I didn't love. There was some dragging and repetitiveness. Maybe a side effect of dual authors? I don't know. I did enjoy it overall and if you are a fan of Rick Riordan's books, this is worth the read. I'm sure I will re-read it in the future and maybe my thoughts will change.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5 stars

Title: Jay's Gay Agenda
Author: Jason June

Synopsis/Thoughts: This was a quick enjoyable read. Jay is the only gay teen (maybe gay person) in his tiny hometown. So when his parents announce they are moving to Seattle, he is ecstatic to experience life as a gay teen with other LBGTQ+ people around. He does a lot of growing up. It is sweet and funny and sometimes sad. But it is a good, happy story in the end.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

Title: Call Down the Hawk
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Narrator: Will Patton
Synopsis/Thoughts: Another one I just read a few months ago... I just needed to re-read the Dreamer Trilogy, too. I still really enjoyed this book. I like seeing more of the Lynch brothers (and of Ronan, obviously). It holds up.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5 stars

Least favorite book read in May/June: All of them were good, but the Sun and the Star has the lowest rating.
Favorite book read in May/June: the Raven Cycle books

As of the end of June, I have read 44 books toward my goal of 75.

I promise that I will try to be better in July. Thanks for sticking with me anyway!

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

April 2023 Wrap Up

April was an interesting month.

Work has continued to be what it is, which is not real great right now. It's frustrating to basically have your dream job and have other people ruining that for you. Kevin has also been dealing with some very tough things at work, so basically work has put a lot of stress on us and altered our lives some. Hopefully some of it will be resolved soon.

But there have been good things in April. I still speak with many of my friends regularly. We are preparing for an elopement for a good friend of mine, which is exciting and fun. Kevin and I are still planning to go on a big trip at the end of May. And the end of this month was marked by a long weekend trip with a couple of my girlfriends to New Orleans.

I didn't get as many books read this month as I would have liked. Partially due to me continuing to listen to Boyfriend Material on a loop (it is comforting, I don't know what to say) and partially due to me re-reading/re-listening to the Raven Cycle books. It felt like cheating to count them again. But I did read a couple of books so here are some quick reviews.

Title: All the Crooked Saints
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Narrator: Thom Rivera
Synopsis/Thoughts: I think I have reviewed this book before, but this book is about miracles. The Soria family performs miracles on pilgrims that visit them. But the miracle works by bringing out the darkness within the pilgrim which the pilgrim must conquer without interference from the Soria family members. I loved this book when I first read it many years ago, but did not remember it well. It was nice to revisit. I think it is an interesting idea and I very much enjoyed it.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars
Title: Outbreaks and Epidemics
Author: Meera Senthilingham
Narrator: Deirdra Whelan

Synopsis/Thoughts: This was an overview of various viral infections and epidemics. Most of it was not new information to me, but I enjoyed reading and reviewing some virus information.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

Title: Sweet and Bitter Magic
Author: Adrienne Tooley
Synopsis: A witch cursed to never feel love and exiled from her home
teams up with a secret magical Source to end a plague started by a dark witch. Tamsin is a very powerful witch who cannot feel love or joy and was cast out of her home by the Coven after committing a magical crime. Meanwhile, Wren is hiding the fact that she is a magical Source who should have been training with the Coven as soon as she realized what she was. And a dark witch is destroying the land. When Wren's father falls ill, she approaches Tamsin and they agree to try to end the plague together.

Thoughts: It took me a little bit to get into this book, but I actually enjoyed it. It was a nice read and I liked the characters and the story.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Favorite book read this month: All the Crooked Saints
Least favorite book read this month: None. Sweet and Bitter Magic got the lowest rating, but it was a good book.
I have now read 36 books towards my goal of 75 books. 

Sorry for the late post. My trip at the end of April into May and then another trip right after May started put me behind. I can't promise for next month, either, since we will be in Morocco into June. But I can combine May and June into one if I need to.

In the meantime, I am working on some other posts and thank you for reading!

Sunday, April 2, 2023

March 2023 Wrap Up

Well, another month has gone by.

I think my March was less rough than my February, but I am still dealing with unpleasant things at work and in my personal life. That has been rather discouraging. Maybe one day I will discuss some things, but not right now.

I have been floating some other ideas for blog posts around my head lately. There are a couple of things that I'd like to write a little something about that aren't related to my monthly wrap ups and book reviews. My main problem is finding the time, motivation, and energy to do them. That is my problem a lot these days. I think work just takes it out of me. And my little ratties are getting older and having more health problems so they need more attention and care. So when I have time I just want to zone out or read a book or do a puzzle. At least I want to read, for a while there that was not the case. Also, if anyone has recommendations for smaller, book-ish puzzles, I want to hear them! I love the ones I have, but I can always use more.

I wish I had something amazing or profound to share, but I don't.

I did read some books though! Mostly I continued reading Maggie Stiefvater's Raven Cycle and Dreamer Trilogy. I have still been listening to Boyfriend Material a lot because it is comforting and familiar, but not as much as I did in February, I think. And I don't really know what I will move onto reading next. Part of me just wants to go back to the Raven Boys and read the series all over again.

Here are some quick book reviews.

Titles: Blue Lily, Lily Blue and the Raven King
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Narrator: Will Patton
Synopsis and thoughts: I finished my re-read of the Raven Cycle this month. I was surprised at how much I didn't remember. But I think I enjoyed them more the second time through. I did a mix of audiobooks and physical books. And can we talk about Ronan for a minute?? I greatly disliked him when I first read the Raven Boys. Then I felt like I understood him better (but didn't like him better) after reading the Dream Thieves. But then sometime during Blue Lily, Lily Blue, he suddenly became my favorite character. I have no idea why. But he still is. I love his story and I love that he is so full of emotions that he can't figure out how to express them so he's just angry. It was so much more obvious this time around how absolutely loyal and devoted he is to his friends, which I also love. I actually love all of the bonds and friendships between the characters in these books. I also think that Ronan and his pranks are often quite funny and I especially like it when Noah is involved in the pranks.
Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of 5 stars
Title: Opal
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Narrator: Will Patton

Synopsis and thoughts: This is a short story that follows the Raven King. I read it on my Kindle a few years ago (but hadn't remembered the Raven Cycle very well at the time) and I am not sure if I reviewed it. But it is from the perspective of Opal, Ronan's hoofed dream girl who came to live with him in at the Barns. It is interesting to see things from a non-human, outsider point of view. Parts of it are sweet and parts are sad. It isn't crucial to read it before the Dreamer Trilogy, but it is a little stepping stone that has important information in it. You get that information eventually in the Dreamer Trilogy, too, so it isn't required. I think the sadness and oddness of this story makes it less of a favorite for me, but I'm still glad that I re-visted it.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

Titles: Call Down the Hawk, Mister Impossible, and Greywaren
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Narrator: Will Patton

Synopsis: The Dreamer Trilogy primarily follows Ronan after the Raven Cycle ends. It also follows the stories of his brothers Declan and Matthew. Ronan starts to discover other dreamers, like him. And he discovers the people who are trying to destroy the dreamers in the name of saving the world. Declan is trying to protect his brothers: Ronan who is a rouge dreamer on the run, and Matthew who is having an existential crisis about being a dream-thing. Meanwhile, Hennessy and her "girls" (duplicates of herself that she has dreamed into existence) are art forgers trying to make it in the world, while keeping Hennessy secret. Her first duplicate, Jordan, loves Hennessy, but also longs for a life as an individual. All of their stories (and others) collide and intercept with those of other humans and dreamers. More discoveries are made about their world, about dreamers, and about the Lynch family.

Thoughts: These were intense books. I did a mixed audiobook and physical book reading of these, too. It took me a while to get into the first one, but once things were moving, they were really moving. I got so emotional a bunch of times, especially when Declan had his run-in with Mór Ó Corra and the new Fenian and learned about his parents. I had lots of strong feelings when I learned about the extent of Ronan's dreaming abilities and his history, especially with his father and Declan (side note, learning more about Niall just made his murder so much worse). And I just wanted everything to be OK. I ended up liking Declan (which I didn't before) and I really liked Jordan. I didn't always love Hennessy, but she was hilarious. And I just wanted Ronan and Adam to be in love and be together (though Ronan's emotional crisis when Adam didn't text him back did kind of crack me up). And the way they tell each other "I love you" is so them and I couldn't get enough of it ("Tamquam. Alter idem." Right in the heart every time). I will say, I kinda missed Ronan's pranks and the Murder Squash song. But that's alright. I really enjoyed these books. Sometimes I forget how much I love Maggie Stiefvater's writing. This was a good reminder. And the audiobooks were great. All of them have music written by Maggie Stiefvater and there is a little discussion at the end of Greywaren with Maggie Stiefvater and Will Patton, who narrated all of her books. Worth listening to, for sure.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of 5 stars

Favorite book read this month: I can't choose. I loved them all.
Least favorite book read this month: Opal had the lowest rating, but I still liked it.

I have now read 33 books towards my goal of 75.

I didn't finish any Owlcrate books (unless you count Greywaren since I ordered it from them?). But I am working on one that is good so far and planning to start a second one.

...But I kind of just want to re-read the Raven Cycle again... I'm a big mood reader, so we will see what happens.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

February 2023 Wrap Up

February was… a month. We had some ups and downs, most of which I am not going to get into. Some has to do with work and some has been personal. Some possibly big things might be happening at work (some bad but some potentially very good) and I think I’m mixed up in it, for better or for worse, but probably better?

I’m also not going to get into all of my personal stuff. But Kevin and I had our sixth dating anniversary, which was lovely. I’ve gotten to spend time (in person, online, and via text) with friends. That has been a highlight for the month. Festus passed away sort of suddenly. I miss my dragon boy but it seems like he didn’t suffer too long, which I am glad for.

Books. It’s a good thing I read the rest of Fruits Basket this month or I would have fallen behind on my reading goals. My main problem was that parts of the month were hard and so I wanted to comfort read. Which I did in the form of listening to Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall over and over and over… I don’t even know (or want to know) how many times. But I find it so freaking funny and sweet. Then the characters all feel like friends I can’t get enough of so I start over again. Hopefully I will move past that within the next few weeks, but we will see. I'm only counting it once towards my reading goal.

I also casually participated in a read-a-long of the Raven Boys. This was a re-read, but it has probably been six or so years since I first read it. I forget how much I love Maggie Stiefvater’s writing and her characters. So that was great and kicked off a re-read of the series. And I plan to jump right into the Dreamer trilogy afterwards now that it is complete.

Since I read a few books, I will do some short reviews!

Title: Fruits Basket Volumes 4-12
Author:  Natsuki Takaya

Synopsis/Thoughts: Tohru's adventures with the Sohma family continue and conclude! I didn't know the whole story since I had only seen the anime, which doesn't go very far in the series. But it was so readable and I loved it. And the ending gave me warm fuzzies.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

Title: Wild Beauty
Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Synopsis: The Nomeolvides women have lived at and tended the grounds of La Pradera for generations. Each woman is bestowed with a gift to grow flowers. But the family is also haunted by a curse: if they fall in love too deeply, the object of their love will disappear.

Thoughts: This was an old Owlcrate book. I really liked it, maybe more than I expected to. I loved the Nomeolvides family and the book was sweet, sad, and lovely.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

Title: Boyfriend Material
Author: Alexis Hall
Narrator: Joe Jameson
Synopsis/Thoughts: I have reviewed this book at least once before, possibly more. I love it. It is so funny and sweet (and occasionally so awkward in the most charming way). The narrator is great. And does anyone aside from me want more about Ben and Sophie and the James Royce-Royces? Because I would be 100% here for more of them.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of 5 stars

Titles: The Raven Boys and the Dream Thieves
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Narrator: Will Patton
Synopsis/Thoughts: I think I have reviewed this series before, too. I did a mix of reading the books and listening to them. It is the 10 year publishing anniversary of the Raven Boys so I participated in a read-a-long through Owlcrate. And of course, I love her writing and characters. I think I am liking them even better this time around. They have been holding my attention well so I am excited to finish this series and get into the Dreamer Trilogy.
Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of 5 stars

Favorite book read this month: They were all really good!
Least favorite book read this month: Honestly, none of them. 

I have now read 27 books towards my goal of 75. And I completed one Owlcrate book. Can I also count the Raven Boys since I bought the special anniversary edition from them? No, I don't think so. I still need to do more Owlcrate catch up.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

January 2023 Wrap Up

Just like that, January is over.

I wish I had more to report for this month, but I think I've just been working all of the time. The big study I am leading is underway and it requires a ton of my time and attention. Plus I have other studies that also need my time and attention. Constant prep work and paperwork, being on call and working late/long hours/weekends. I haven't even been able to do laundry which is desperately needed.

But things are starting to wrap up. By the end of February my time should be a little less chaotic.

Despite the craziness, I managed to read more books than I expected. I will keep reviews short since I know this post is already a bit late.

Titles: Cold Fire and Shatterglass
Author: Tamora Pierce
Synopsis/Thoughts: These are the last two books of the Circle Opens quartet that follow Daja and Tris, respectively, as they travel and take on students. More comfort reads of course, but these two books are some of my favorites by Tamora Pierce.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars
Title: Attachments
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Narrator: Laura Hamilton

Synopsis/Thoughts: I have read and reviewed this book a few times. It is a good read and I love the email communications between Beth and Jennifer. It is an easy, lovely read.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars
Title: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Author: Mark Twain
Narrator: Nick Offerman
Synopsis/Thoughts: I feel that this classic doesn't need much introduction. After seeing the Mark Twain house and museum in Connecticut, I figured I should read more than one story, so I did! It was a bit young, but still enjoyable.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5 stars
Title: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Author: Lewis Carroll
Narrator: Scarlett Johansson

Synopsis/Thoughts: Another classic that needs no real introduction.  Another one I had never read before and it was a fun little listen. While I didn't LOVE it, it was still good.
 Rating: 3 stars out of 5 stars

Title: The Ballad of Perilous Graves
Author: Alex Jennings
Narrator: Gralen Bryant Banks

Synopsis: In an alternate version of New Orleans, ghosts are real, zombies work in the town, animals speak like humans, and music is the magic that holds the world together. When the core songs that protect the city escape and someone begins killing them, Perry (Perilous) and his friends and family must save the city.

Thoughts: I started reading this many months ago. It is actually quite good, but it didn't hold my attention well. That was completely on me, though, not the book. I just wasn't in the right head space for this type of story. It is one I will consider revisiting another time.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5 stars

Title: The Depths
Author: Nicole Lesperance
Synopsis: Addie, having recently survived a near-death accident, is required to tag along to a remote island with her mom and new step-dad for their honeymoon. But the island is inexplicably strange; beautiful and unsettling and covered in mysteries. As she gets deeper into the islands mysteries, the island and its inhabitants seem determined to keep her.
Thoughts: This was an Owlcrate book from September that I started in October since it is a spooky book. There are two "ghosts" on the island (they are called ghosts, but they are really zombies if you ask me). One is good and the other gave me the worst creeps. Spoiler: that ghost is also good, but we don't know it right away. I only mention it because I was glad of that when it came out. Parts of this books were definitely eerie and creepy. I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars 

Title: The Secret Garden
Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Narrator: Carrie Hope Fletcher
Synopsis/Thoughts: Yet another classic that needs no introduction which I had never read before. I didn't actually know what to expect, I knew so little about this story. But it was a sweet, enjoyable read.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

Title: Four Dead Queens
Author: Astrid Scholte
Narrators: Amy Shiels and Elizabeth Knoweiden
Synopsis: Quadara is a nation is divided into four quadrants (Toria, Ludia, Archia, and Eonia), each ruled by a different queen. Keralie is a Torian thief and steals comm discs from an Eonian messenger. When things suddenly go wrong, she watches the comm discs and sees the four queens each being murdered in different, horrible ways. She and the messenger, Varin, set out to save the queens. But they don't know who they are looking for.

Thoughts: This was an older Owlcrate book that I finally picked up. The mystery was super intriguing and I loved the twists. It was so much more enjoyable than I thought it would be. If you are looking for a neat, captivating mystery, I highly recommend this one.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

Title: Something Fabulous
Author: Alexis Hall
Narrator: Nicholas Boulton
Synopsis/Thoughts: I ADORE Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall, so I thought I should read this, too. It takes place in the past and involves a Duke falling in love with the brother of his meant-to-be bride. So some parts were funny and entertaining and some of the characters were fun. But there were um... spicy parts in this book that were a bit much for me. That usually isn't my favorite thing to read anyway, but I don't normally have to actually skip parts of the book. Which I definitely had to do a couple of times. That probably says much more about me than about the book itself though. I will keep Boyfriend Material (and re-read it soooooo many times), but I think I will leave this one behind.

Rating: 2 1/2 stars out of 5 stars

Title: Lunar Love
Author: Lauren Kung Jessen
Narrator: Raechel Wong
Synopsis: Olivia is in the process of taking over the family match making business when she discovers a dating app that also uses the Chinese zodiac to match people. She infiltrates their app in order to meet the creator to try to bring him down. But Bennett is not quite what she expects and they keep getting thrown together. Then feelings happen.

Thoughts: This was a pick for the Happily Ever After group run by Jenny Lawson and it sounded interesting so I wanted to read it. It was interesting and I enjoyed some of the Chinese culture that we get to see. And the way Olivia and Bennett's relationship develops was different than most of these that I have read. But in a very good way.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

Title: Fruits Basket, volumes 1-3
Author: Natsuki Takaya
Synopsis/Thoughts: Inspired by Lunar Love, I wanted to actually read these since they have the zodiac animals in them. I have seen the anime (many years ago, but still) and I have liked reading them very much. They are cute and fun and easy to read.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars
Favorite book read this month: Probably have to pick Four Dead Queens
Least favorite book read this month: Something Fabulous
I have read 14 books towards my goal of 75 for 2023.

I want to work my way through some Owlcrate books (including the extra classic books that they sometimes send) and I managed to read 4 this month. I have some others in progress.