A Witch in Time: E-ARC Review

Thanks to Netgalley, Redhook Books, and Constance Sayers for the opportunity to review A Witch in Time by providing me with an uncorrected proof. 4 stars from me! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Helen has lived many lives… she just doesn’t know it yet. Newly divorced and reeling from the heartbreak of betrayal by her husband Roger, she starts dating. This is how she meets Luke, a stranger who is somehow utterly familiar to her. With his help, she begins piecing together her past lives. See, Helen has been cursed by her mother, of all people, to live out many lives, during which she relives a doomed relationship with Roger. During each of these lives, Luke appears to help her regain her memories and heal from the heartbreak… until her untimely death by age 34. Helen discovers that she began as Juliet, a muse to an artist named Marchant, who was a bit older than her. Her mother accidentally set her curse in motion when she became pregnant by him. Her life continues on as Nora, Sandra, and eventually, to Helen. In each of these lives, she deals with heartbreak at the hands of her lover and only then is shown her curse through the help of Luke, who is tasked with holding her to her punishment for eternity. She discovers a lot about her heritage and the reasoning behind her mother’s actions. Her mother was a minor witch, able to do a little bit of magic-work here and there, and she slowly realizes that she has magic in her veins, as well.

Man, I’ve had some Netgalley misses lately and this one REALLY made up for it. For those looking for an intricate magic system, don’t look here. The magic in this was so subtle and lightly interjected into the plot. For the most part, our characters are seemingly normal people who got where they are by extraordinary circumstances… which just happen to involve magic. I liked that. I wasn’t looking for a fantasy read, when I read this synopsis. I’m not sure WHAT I was expecting, maybe more of a historical fiction? It kind of defies most of the tags you would normally try to tag it as. It has romance and is definitely focused on multiple love stories, but it’s not a steamy, breathless, bodice-ripping novel. It has magic, demons, witches… but it’s not saturated with it. It’s different from most things I’ve read and that really helped me race through this book.

Helen revisits all of her old lives through visions that start coming to her after her heartbreak. This could have gotten really stale if the author made us replay the same story over and over, but thankfully, each life was evolved from the last. Helen and Roger’s past lives were always THEM, but different. Her heartbreak was always different, their lifestyles were always different, the way they reacted to their situation was always different, the way they die is always different, sometimes their sexual orientation was even different. They kept characteristics true to themselves though; he’s always involved with art of some form, she always discovers an affinity for the piano, they both love each other to some degree despite the heartbreak. Throughout all of this, Luke helps Helen through all of her lives. Sometimes he makes things worse. Sometimes he helps her completely work through what Roger has done to her. Sometimes she hates Luke for the things he has done to help her. It was all kept very fresh and thus, was an extremely easy and enjoyable read. With each life we learned more about the backstory of how Juliet’s mother could have possibly cursed her daughter this way. We learn about why Luke is in charge of holding Helen to her curse. Many things that seemed like plot holes in the beginning, tidied themselves up by the end. There were times that the writing of minor characters seemed a bit immature or undeveloped, but not often enough to discourage me from continuing. This never seemed much of an issue with the main characters, either.

There are controversial themes: underage sexual relationships, forced child loss, rape. There are demons, witches, etc. Providing this as a trigger warning to anyone who prefers reads without this type of content.

A Witch in Time will be available in February of 2020 for you to pick up. Well done, Constance Sayers.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales Omnibus

These Buffy and Faith Funko Pops?! Oh my god, in love.

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve likely seen that I’m rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It is definitely reconfirming it as one of my all-time favorite shows. Just got to Hush the other day and CRIED because it was so well done, it’s always been one of my favorite episodes. It WAS nominated for an Emmy, so I guess it is warranted. Well, as you may have seen with my post of Fray, I’m delving into the Buffyverse by reading the comics. Fray was good, but Tales blew my mind.

The various contributors did a masterful job with this. These comics draw from the evil within humanity to shape their monsters, as well as myth and legend. We see characters that we know and learn some of their backstory. Jack the Ripper, Nazis, Dracula, Buffy, Xander, Spike, young Watchers. There’s so much information to be learned. I loved how the illustrators matched their issue’s style to the topic at hand. Jack the Ripper’s style resembled a late 1800’s Wanted Poster, black and white, hints of blue, very little color. The slayer in Nazi Germany realized that evil is all around her, and the style was reminiscent of the propaganda posters that the Nazis used as fear tactics. Spike and Drusilla were very realistic and as we know them on the show. There was a sweet little sing-song-y comic about finding a vampire and the style was like what you’d see on a holiday children’s show. Lots of thought and effort was put into this collection. An outstanding round of applause for the creators!

The Familiars: A Review

I just finished listening to The Familiars by Stacy Halls, narrated by Billie Fulford-Brown and was compelled to immediately write a review. 4 ⭐️ from me! The first few chapters, I was unsure if this was going to be for me. It started off leisurely and was a slow build. By a quarter way through, I was thoroughly intrigued. By halfway through, I was hungry for more. I love historical fiction and the witch hunts are especially interesting and heartbreaking.

Fleetwood is the lady of a noble house and is pregnant. This is her last ditch, last hope attempt for a viable pregnancy and a united family. Fleetwood finds a letter addressed to her husband from a doctor that states that his wife will die if she attempts to give birth again. Bravely, Fleetwood takes her and her child’s life into her own hands. She encounters a young lady, Alice, who gives her hope. Fleetwood has had midwives before, but they were entirely unpleasant and obedient to her husband’s wishes. She’s convinced that in a flourishing environment, with a woman who is attentive to her needs and not her husband’s wishes, that her and her child can survive. Slowly but surely, she builds a friendship and a trust between herself and Alice.

At the same time, a witch-hunt is sweeping the nation, led by their power hungry family friend, Roger. Fleetwood is thriving in her pregnancy under the care of Alice’s knowledge of herbs and remedies. It isn’t long before Alice is accused of witch craft, as most intelligent, capable women were in those times. Soon begins Fleetwood’s race to save Alice, and in turn, her baby and herself.

This story is one of betrayal, of strength in impossible times, of the perseverance of women in a world that expects little of them. Things aren’t what they seem in this book. Fleetwood’s seemingly progressive husband, Richard, isn’t Prince Charming. He is another man in a world and time saturated with men who believe their women are possessions, that their indiscretions are a God-given right, that a knowledgeable woman is a dangerous woman. And to that last point, they are right. Women ARE dangerous when taking hold of their full abilities. Dangerous to male ego and pride. Dangerous to the people who have wronged them, holding them accountable to their actions. I won’t go too much into Richard’s story because there’s a major plot line that I think is better discovered by oneself.

Fleetwood knows that women were convicted of witch craft because their intelligence threatened the men around them. Wise-women who had knowledge of herbs and natural remedies and applied them more aptly than the nearby apothecaries threaten the business of men. Mid-wives who pay attention to the female body and needs are dangerous because they are for the goodness of THE WOMEN, and not the master of the house. Men who craved power knew that the forged demise of a few women was the safer route than hard work, or the challenging of another man. Why not take the easy route? Women were little more worth than a household servant to the men, their word holds no value. Fleetwood shows incredible bravery by challenging the men around her. To do this is completely out of her comfort zone. She has spent her life under the finger of everyone around her. She doesn’t even have the heart to ask her paid servants to do anything for her. She is under the complete authority of others. So to see her fight for herself, her child, and another woman, was heartwarming. She took journeys alone, she championed for Alice to powerful men who could have easily convicted HER of witchcraft for even doing so. Fleetwood is delivered blow after blow by life but builds herself in determination with those blows. I think it’s worth it to mention that there were a lot of women in that time who were content to be nothing more than the lady of a house, who were conditioned to accept the judgement of a male meekly and without a fight. Those women were content to let other women fall under the guise of witchcraft because it kept them safe. If they scorned “witchcraft” and the woman accused, they could keep living their comfortable lives. Fleetwood is willing to sacrifice that for what is right. One of the big risks at this time is being a women with an animal companion, hence The Familiars title. Witches were “known” to have a familiar, and Fleetwood has a dog that constantly trails her. It’s even more courageous of her to fight for other women when she has so many traits that could condemn her.

Speaking on the topic of familiars, do you think men were afraid of compassion, especially in that time? I know it was seen as a sign of weakness. But the same thing that makes women good mothers, compassion and an internal instinct, is the same thing that draws animals to them. Compassionate women tend to care for and own animals. They are wise-women, midwives, people who care about the wellbeing of those around them. I’m sure this is why many *witches* were seen with *familiars*. I think compassionate women were a risk for men, who felt they needed a hard heart to rise in life. Who couldn’t be seen with any “feminine” qualities. A woman who treated all people and things with respect and care, confounded their view that MEN were the most important, the elite. As you can see, The Familiars was a very thought-provoking book for me.

The star I knocked off was for the tepid beginning. Unfortunately, I can see many people DNFing if they’re the type of person to put down a book that doesn’t grab them in the first chapter or so. And they’d be missing out on a great book if so. Another reason it wasn’t five stars for me, was Richard. It’s discouraging to see male characters pay no price and get their whole life paved out exactly the way they would like. Is this unreasonable for that time? Not at all. This is historical fiction, after all. A man paying for misdeeds against a woman is entirely unlikely. A female character as strong as Fleetwood deserves more than him, though. During the author’s note, I found out that these characters were actually real people that this was loosely based on. So it’s a bit unfair for me to expect anything different, anyway. But still… eff you, Richard.


Here’s to all of the midwives out there, to the women climbing ladders of success, to the women who crave knowledge and actively seek it, to the women who embrace our rights and fight for them. You’re doing your ancestors proud. They sacrificed for you. Don’t let them down.

November Wrap Up and December TBR

Shall we see how my tentative TBR list for November compares to what I actually read? People who stick solely to their original TBR without getting sidetracked by throwing other books into the fray have some WILLPOWER.


Here we go, this was my list:

Finish:
The Black Prism
Senlin Ascends
Fate of the Fallen
Start/Read:
The Subtle Knife
The Family Upstairs
The Blinding Knife
Master of Sorrows
Lanny
Backups:
Before and After
This Side of Paradise
Limited Wish
The Great Pretender
Something Wicked This Way Comes 
Maybe You Should Talk To Someone 
Six of Crows

This is what I ACTUALLY read:

Unnatural Magic: 3 ⭐️

The Black Prism: 4.5 ⭐️

Senlin Ascends: 3.5 ⭐️

The Family Upstairs: 4⭐️

The Blinding Knife: 3.5 ⭐️

Six of Crows: 4 ⭐️

Before and After: 3 ⭐️

The Immortalists: 4 ⭐️

Pumpkinheads: 4 ⭐️

Fray: 4 ⭐️

Red Queen: 3.5 ⭐️


Now for December TBR:

Finish:

Master of Sorrows

The Familiars

Start:

The Great Pretender

Lanny

The Subtle Knife

Crooked Kingdom

The Broken Eye

Glass Sword

A Witch in Time

Backups/Wildcards:

Ten Thousand Doors of January

Nevernight

The Wives

Dear Edward

Red, White, and Royal Blue

The Cruel Prince


Wish me luck! Anyone have favorites off of these lists?

The Blinding Knife: A Review

“By what right do I bend men to my will? Or is there no right, only ability?”

Okay… there’s a lot for me to process here. First, I gave The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks a 3 star on Goodreads. It’s really a 3.5 star to me. And I debated between rounding up to a 4 or keeping it at that 3 rating. Here’s the thing: I LOVE this storyline. I love the world that Brett Weeks built. I love the magic system. I love the spectrum of colors and how each character represent and relate to the colors that they can draft.

So why the 3.5 star? I mean, you see a star in the 3 range and you think it’s a book you could take or leave. Make no mistake, I WILL be finishing this series because I am invested in what happens to these characters… but dear lord, maybe it was because Weeks was shut away writing for months/years on end but I think this man needed to get LAID. Every single time a female character walked in for the first 3/4s of the book, attention was drawn to her breasts, her curves, her butt. I can take a certain amount of attention to the human form, it is natural. But there doesn’t need to be comments every time a female character is around. Why does there need to be mention of Gavin and Kip studiously avoiding looking at cleavage? I get that this is supposed to enhance their “good guy” image, because they refrain, but then… just don’t mention it?? You’re still putting those thoughts out there, you’re just doing an “oh look at me, I’m a nice guy because I’m not taking advantage or sexually harassing you” thing. Yes, there’s a few mentions of women looking at the men. But maybe one mention for every five that a male character makes. And like I said, a remark or thought here or there would not bother me. I can only hope that for the remaining books, Brent Weeks’ wife or publisher or SOMEONE was like “Hey, dude. Tone it down a bit.” Do I think that Brent Weeks is a bad dude? Probably not. Do I think maybe he didn’t realize how sexist some of this comes across as? Yes. I know that in recent years, we have made leaps and bounds in helping generally good people identifying potentially toxic behavior, so I’m giving him a small pass.

The whole bed slave thing is so cringe, too. I’m not gonna totally crucify the dude for it because whatever, it’s a fantasy world. Slavery has existed and still exists in certain areas of the world, and people are always gonna crave power over other people. There’s also characters that realize slavery is wrong and are working towards freeing people from it. But coupled with the constant sexual chatter, it’s not a great look.

Now that my ranting about THAT subject matter is over, here’s what I love. Despite all of what I said earlier, in every other regard, Brent Weeks is an amazing writer. He has built a world rich with possibilities. The good vs evil dynamic is amazing because it is so complex. Who IS the good in this? On one hand, you have dGavin and Kip’s side: people who train and follow guidelines to ensure a safe environment, a democratic government with people from all colors who make decisions. They also have slaves, kill people when they become color wights, and train people to be obedient to their ideals. Then you have The Color Prince/Liv’s side: encouragement to practice and hone your power, belief that you do not need to die when you become a color wight, but embrace it. You are pushed to be proud of yourself and your own “pleasure” instead of being embarrassed by it. You also have a destructive leader who makes decisions for all and used brutal force to do so. Which is right? Neither… both. That’s the duality to humanity. It’s usually not wholly one or the other. We see it in every day life: in politics, at work, at home. Well-meaning intentions go awry. Brent Weeks does a fabulous job with this plot line.

They made it so that we can’t change it from within. They made it so we must kill to break it. If we be monsters, we’re monsters made in their image.

Liv annoys many people, and I can say she annoyed me too. ONLY because I don’t know how you turn on your family and friends so quickly. I completely understand why she is enticed by The Color Prince’s ideals and the power. But she goes into war knowing that her father and friends could be a casualty of her actions and is like, oh well.

“Do you know what you can do to an enemy but not to a friend? Stab her in the back.”

I’m curious to see where Kip and dGavin’s storyline goes. I’ve always thought that dGavin treated Kip very well for him not being his rightful son, but to hear him admit that he doesn’t love Kip as his own son was very human and honest of him. Anyone who has a kid knows it a different kind of love. But… people adopt. They form bonds. Deep love grows, it isn’t commanded. I hope that they get there one day. I love the growth from both characters, too. Kip is building his own family within his friends. He’s gaining acceptance because people like him for him, and not just because of dGavin. He’s proud, stands up for himself, and TRIES. Constantly. He may not be the best, but he’s got heart. dGavin has finally stopped being a love wimp and lets Karris (almost) wholly into his life. He’s in the midst of losing his shit but he’s also making progress at the same time.

They were deeply in love. Smitten. At their age. Sad.”

^made me laugh out loud when dGavin thinks this about two of his friends, such irony.

Lastly… I’m just gonna say, my heart bursts for Ironfist. He’s the best, the purest soul. (Here’s to hoping all you people out there who’ve read through aren’t sitting there like, HAHA IRONFIST KILLS A WHOLE VILLAGE OF DEFENSELESS PUPPIES, YOU SWEET SUMMER CHILD)

I’m not going to go into much more detail even though I’d love to comment on aspects of the last quarter of the book, but there’s just so much potential with how it ended. Where is this gonna go?? Kip and his newfound… friend. dGavin’s current… position. What’s Karris gonna do? Is Liv ever gonna stop being someone else’s puppet and think fully for herself? Is Andross ever going to be a decent human?? (Probably not)


Until next time!

The Immortalists: A Review

“It sounds like you’re saying we can choose to live. Or we can choose to survive.”

Would you want to know the day that you died? The Gold children decide to take a risk and visit a Gypsy who is known to foretell a person’s death date. They are given various days, from the very young to the elderly. After reading The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin, I can say that I wouldn’t want to know.

Simon, Klara, Daniel, and Varya all take their fortune and deal with it in different ways. Simon and Klara decide to live life THEIR way. Daniel and Varya play it safe. The fear and skepticism of their impending deaths taint their lives. Simon decides life is too short to deny his homosexuality, he can’t stand the thought of living life in the shadow of his parents and their desire for him to take over the family business. He flees to San Francisco, one of the only places he can truly feel free, with Klara. Klara has believed and adored magic since she was young and spends her life building a legacy as a magician for herself and her future family.

“Most adults claim not to believe in magic, but Klara knows better. Why else would anyone play at permanence—fall in love, have children, buy a house—in the face of all evidence there’s no such thing? The trick is not to convert them. The trick is to get them to admit it.

Klara and Simon both resort to relationships and alcohol to distract themselves from the doom hanging over them. Daniel and Varya go to school and interchangeably take care of their mother. They outwardly deny their prophecies, while inwardly quaking. Daniel marries, but is always thinking of his role in taking his siblings to see the Gypsy. He grapples with his religion and doubts the existence of a higher power.

“The truth is that most people enjoy a certain level of impotence. But I think we do have control—so much that it scares us to death. As a species, God might be the greatest gift we’ve ever given ourselves. The gift of sanity.

Daniel focuses on his work as a doctor for the military, and when he is put on leave, starts obsessing about the fortune teller and how she ruined their lives. Varya spends years advancing human longevity treatments, protects herself from illness or germs at all costs, and fears living her life or connecting with another human being.

“The cost of loneliness is high, she knows, but the cost of loss is higher.

So here’s the thingI GET why the reviews are all over the place. It’s a depressing book. You get to know the characters, and yeah, a lot of them die. They’re not handed a bunch of happy endings. But I personally really enjoyed it. The writing was poignant and engaging. I wanted to return to it and I easily read it within a day. The Gold children suffer serious mental affections because of the knowledge of their foretold deaths, and some of them are never able to move forward. Some of them are so worried about doing all they can in their rushed lives, that they hurt others. They hurt themselves. Some of them do as little outside of their comfort zone as they can, not wanting to upset any balance. They ALL develop mental illnesses to a degree. Bipolar, depression, OCD, extreme paranoia, Msyophobia.

But damn… isn’t that realistic? If I knew the day of my death, I’d be worrying about vacations I never took, books I never read, financial stability for my family, whether I could cheat death, if I could make myself healthier, the things I hadn’t accomplished. There would be a million things stopping me from enjoying life. Better to not know. I believe in living life like I could die, IN THEORY: going to the nice restaurants, taking my son to all the wacky events that kids love, going on multiple vacations a year, reading 100 books a year, etc…. but those work because you’re enjoying them and not racing towards them in fear for your life.

“The point is that you have to live a lesser life in order to live a longer one. Don’t you see that? The point is that you’re willing to make that bargain, you have made that bargain, but to what end? At what cost?

I think this is a good book because it makes us uncomfortable. For me, I would rate it 4 stars. The reason it isn’t perfect for me is because while I enjoyed the setup, which was one POV at a time (until that character’s death), I didn’t enjoy how the storyline bounced around WITHIN that POV. I don’t think it added anything to not stay linear within each person’s story, it just adds confusion to bounce back and forth from past to future. In some of the POVs, it did this much too often to make it smooth reading. But personally, if you’re on the fence about this one, I say pick it up.


She’d tell herself that what she really wanted was not to live forever, but to stop worrying.

The Family Upstairs: A Review

I recently got The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell in as part of my Book of the Month box. I read it in one day. I give it a 4 star rating!

I tend to read thrillers to break up my fantasy binges (in fact, I put aside Fate of the Fallen because I needed to mentally shake up my mind after all of my recent fantasy reads before I continued). Here’s the thing, modern thrillers should confuse you a bit. For me, generally thrillers can be boring, been done a million times, or overambitious and messy. There’s a very fiiiiine line for me with thrillers because unlike fantasy, the options ARE limited. So being unique and fresh can be a struggle. Lisa Jewell got me confused. In a good way. If I can survive more than half of a thriller not figuring out THE MAJOR plot line, it passes my test.

Libby receives an inheritance of a multimillion dollar manor in London when she turns 25. She was orphaned in infancy and found next to three dead bodies, including the owners of the manor. The story follows her storyline, as well as Henry and Lucy, who were also raised in the house at the time. The three bodies were found with traces of poison in their system, all wearing the same black clothing. The house was bare and devoid of any personal touches or luxury items. The bodies were taut and thin, emaciated. The police never found out the reasoning behind the deaths, never found the missing other children in the house, and Libby was turned over to an adoptive family.

The thing I loved about this book is that the author delved into cult mentality. The children’s parents find themselves inviting a group into the house that slowly takes over their living space. Their leader, David uses his presence and cunning to strip the family down to the basics under the premise of unloading the burdens of materialistic values. He controls the food they put in their body, the possessions they are able to hold onto, the money they spend, the subjects they study. He wants them to be utterly dependent, weak, and vulnerable. It goes into the effects of having adults like this in your life. Adults who are controlling and adults willing to let other people make decisions about their kids, especially to their detriment. Almost all of the characters have mentally suffered because of their environment. How could you not? You see those documentaries of kids who are chained to beds in their parent’s attic for years before they escape and do you expect someone to be “normal” after that? I would be STUNNED if someone escaped mentally unscathed after something like that? In true, just-got-locked-in-a-room-and-basically-starved-at-the-hands-of-sadistic-adult fashion, characters in this book are MESSED UP. You get a mentally deficient unreliable narrator. You get insecure adults who fall into the hands of predators, who can’t break a cycle. You get children that never felt loved who become adults who never felt loved.

The bad about this story. I ALMOST wavered between a 3.5 and a 4 for this. Henry’s storyline ended up being exactly what I expected. The other characters surprised me a bit more. There’s also a murder in here of a character that I didn’t think was ENTIRELY necessary to the story, but was understandable. The ending was mostly satisfactory but the last few paragraphs were a bit of an eye roll and cliche in the thriller genre in regards to the “cliffhanger” but nothing to spoil the entire book. Some of the “confusing” bits seemed a little jumbled and thoughtless, but for the most part, was cohesive.

Ultimately, this book was fast paced. It wasn’t the same old song and dance. It kept me guessing for more than half of the story and most of the plot lines. The writing was engaging. The good outweighed the bad and this was an enjoyable read that I was about to devour. I think it’s worth the read for those who like this genre!

The Black Prism: A review

“Light cannot be chained.” 

4.5 stars to The Black Prism! It’s so refreshing to read a fantasy series with a unique magic system that is also supported by fantastic writing. Brent Weeks brings humor and heartbreak to this world in the perfect mix. The magic system revolves around chromaturgy, which is harnessing light to create luxin. Drafters are people that can harness this light, and each visible color in the spectrum has a different property/power. 

The story begins with utterly average Kip watching his childhood friends die when his city is massacred by the local king, King Garadul. Kip has lead a meager life so far, raised by an addict mother who seems to resent him. He has never known his father. The attack on the city actually leads him to meet his father (spoiler, though this happens in the first few chapters, so not too much of a surprise): The Prism, Gavin Guile. The Prism is the one person each generation that can draft every color. So yeah, he’s pretty much a *big deal*. 

Kip eventually joins with Gavin to study chromaturgy and to defend a nation against King Garadul’s forces. I don’t want to go too much into what actually happens, because a lot of the story is wound tightly with surprises that might be spoiled if I go too deeply into the plot. Here’s a few things that play a huge role in the story, if you’re on the fence about reading it: 

•brotherly rivalry: Gavin and his brother Dazen has been pitted against each other since their youth by their father. Both are strong in chromaturgy and the rivalry ends up eating them both alive. MAJOR decisions and twists in this story are based off of this rivalry.

•good vs bad: things aren’t always what they seem. Kip, his friend Liv, Gavin, and Dazen all make decisions that they think are best. This is a story that truly delves into the gray areas of leadership, following leadership, and the well intentions (and sometimes, devastation) of revolution.

•nature vs nurture and the effect: Kip has never felt love in his life, having a cruel addict mother. He still feels an obligation towards her and is affected by his relationship with her. Once he meets Gavin, he starts consciously making decisions that speak to his character. He is self deprecating and insecure after years of being treated harshly, but his true “Guile courage” shows through. Kip eventually uncovers a secret that tests his allegiance towards each of his parents. 

I knocked off some points because there are some times that the focus on the female form is a bit immature and could be viewed as problematic. I enjoyed the story enough to be able to look past it and don’t believe any ill intent was meant (though ignorance isn’t an excuse, either). I’m hoping he’s a bit more conscious of this in future books!

Brent Weeks creates an enticing world. His characters have depth, heart, and humor to them. His world wasn’t predictable to me, as fantasy books can veer to. He’s a true forerunner in the fantasy genre. Now… to The Blinding Knife!


“You have to be a little bad to make history.”

November TBR Ambitions

I’m 7 days into November and I’m putting together my first TBR list. I usually never line-up my reads but I’m going to see how that works for me this month.

First off, I’m planning on finishing my audible version of The Black Prism by Brent Weeks.

I am absolutely loving it. I am looking forward to continuing with the series and completely kicking myself for prolonging the reading of Brent’s works. I’ll do a review on this once I’m done.

Second, I really want to finish Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft this week! I’ve been S L O W L Y making my way through this because I stupidly kept adding books into my daily reading. Poor Senlin has taking a backseat in my reading schedule and it’s mostly because it is something I’m reading on my iBooks app. For some reason… audible, hard copies, and kindle get my attention first. I think that’s because I get distracted by notifications and a million other things on my phone. YOU DESERVE MORE THAN ME, SENLIN. Seriously, this is a unique and wonderful story thus far. The fact that this was self-published and originally didn’t garner much interest is a testament to the success that can come when authors NEVER quit while trying to get their work noticed.

Lastly, I want to finish up Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade. I have not gotten very far. As I said before, I’ve been reading about four books at once, and with three of them being fantasy, it has gotten pushed aside. My book of the month box will be in today or tomorrow so I want to get through this one before starting one of those! Once I get through Senlin Ascends, I’ll be able to focus more on this.

Next up once I finish a few of these:

•Audible with continue with Brent Weeks! The Blinding Knife is next in line, so hopefully I’ll start that today or tomorrow.

•Next hardcopy will be: The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman. I’ve been EAGER to get to this one so it will be a reward for getting through my current reads. Once that is finished, I’ll be going to The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell, which was one of my Book of the Month books.

•Kindle read will be Master of Sorrows by Justin T. Call. I have been wanting to read this for a while and got approved by Netgalley for it, so it has been bumped up on my TBR list.

Those are my goal reads for November but I’ve got a list of backups once those are finished:

•Lanny by Max Porter (one of my best childhood friends sent this to me so it’s high on my list)

Before and After by Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate (I absolutely loved Before We Were Yours and can’t wait to read real life accounts of children who survived the Tennessee Children’s Home

•Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Limited Wish by Mark Lawrence

The Great Pretender by Susannah Cahalan

•Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

These are my current TBRs! Let me know yours, and if you read/enjoyed any of these in the comments below!

A Break From The Norm: Overstimulation as a Mother

So… I’m gonna go off topic from my usual blog posts, which is obviously books. I am going to vent about something that has affected me since my son was born: Overstimulation of Touch.

There’s nothing that will make your mom guilt flare up like the sudden onset of resentment towards being touched 24/7. My son loves me with every fiber of his being. I am his person. He is a momma’s boy to the 1000th degree. But I broke down crying today. In general, I am not a touchy feely person. I am the notorious one arm hugger. I am the awkward patter. I am not a PDA person. I love people fiercely but if I’m being overly affectionate, I’m probably a couple drinks past buzzed. I like personal space. Despite all of this, I am very, very, very affectionate towards my son. He gets love and kisses and the whole wrapped arm hugs constantly. I wake up every night for him when he needs me. But every once and a while I break down from overstimulation. Here’s an example of (half) my day: I slept with him on top of me all night because he had an earache. I laid with him and watched a movie and my nephew to try to get them to calm down, which resulted in them rolling all over me and tugging on my hair the whole time. When his cousin goes down for a nap, he wants a piggy back ride throughout the house while I’m cleaning, or he hangs onto my leg while I drag him around. I tried to lay my son down for a nap since he only slept five hours last night, he has a fist full of my hair and kisses me all over my arms and legs and face for a good ten minutes. Cute, right? After a week of him being sick, very little sleep on my part, a lot of touching, a cramped body from sleeping with knees in my back and elbows in my side every night, and a boy who ONLY wants his mom 24/7… I just broke down crying. Sometimes I don’t feel like I have enough left of me for anyone else because I give so much to him. My reading and blogging are two of the things that keeps me sane. I work a few days a week to get out of the house, but I am primarily a stay at home mother. My days don’t belong to me, and that’s usually fine. That’s what happens when you’re a parent and especially a mother. But some days are hard. Sometimes you fantasize about ONE day without being touched. Lets be real, I would end up breaking that myself by swooping my son up in a gigantic hug and smooshing his face with kisses, but it’s okay to fantasize.

This is all such a cliche. And I feel so guilty for it every time this happens. My son is sick and every nerve is on edge because I’m overstimulated. One day my son is going to be older and won’t want anything to do with me. The touching, the hugging, the constant kisses, the rolling on top of me, the jumping, the crunching of my body under his weight, the hair pulling. I know I’ll miss it. But today it is hard. It has been hard before. It will be hard again. I feel weak minded and weak spirited. I love you, Sawyer. And I’m sorry that sometimes the cracks show through. But the best thing about writing it, is that it’s therapeutic. I feel strength in admitting my weaknesses. Sometimes it takes more of a toll pretending to be strong always than just letting the breakdown happen. The old saying, “there’s beauty in the breakdown,” is so apt because you’re able to rebuild mentally after the breakdown.

If you got this far, thanks for reading and letting me use my blog for multiple purposes.