First Line Friday

Happy Friday! Rejoice! The weekend is here!

First Lines Friday is a weekly book meme hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!
This week’s lines:

The ancient Humvee rattled as it hit another pothole. On the other side of the vehicle’s window clouds of grit obscured the view, kicked up as they rumbled through the dry soil of the Dust. Tumbleweeds and rabbit-brush crunched like bird bones beneath the tires.

Aidan flipped through his new personnel roster on the holographic screen projected from the tablet in his lap. The nails of his free hand scratched out erratic rhythms against the fabric of his pants.

His eyes skittered over the flickering images for the third time, trying to memorize names and faces. He’d only needed one read-through of the attached disciplinary files. Those he wasn’t going to forget in a hurry.

Like the preview? Well this book iiiss…

The Hands We’re Given by O.E. Tearmann

Goodreads Summary:

Aidan Headly never wanted to be the man giving orders. That’s fine with the Democratic State Force base he’s been assigned to command: they don’t like to take orders. Nicknamed the Wildcards, they used to be the most effective base against the seven Corporations owning the former United States in a war that has lasted over half a century. Now the Wildcards are known for creative insubordination, chaos, and commanders begging to be reassigned. Aidan is their last chance. If he can pull off his assignment as Commander and yank his ragtag crew of dreamers and fighters together, maybe they can get back to doing what they came to do: fighting for a country worth living in.
Life’s a bitch. She deals off the bottom of the deck. But you play the hands you’re given.

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2021 Resolutions and January TBR

I’m listening to epic drum and percussion mixes while writing and it feels like I’m ready to slay a dragon.

Is it too late to go…”HAPPY NEW YEAR!” ?

New year, new m— (I’m kidding.)
Surprisingly, after years of people saying the same line, this year I have not seen “New year, new me” yet!

Last year, I didn’t really have any particular resolutions in mind other than to get a job nor did I have any particular blog goals [as I started in April]. But! This year! I have just a couple of goals in mind.

Read 25 Books

As someone who didn’t particularly read much after high school, I started my yearly goals off by matching it with the last digit of that year. In 2018, my goal was to read 8 books and then 9 books in 2019. Each of those years I just barely made it, reading 9 and 10 books respectively. It didn’t make sense to read 0 books in 2020 and that jump to 20 books was insane to me (at first), so I started the year out with 10 books. Some magical fairy sprinkled some pixie dust on me and I flew through 10 books before I even knew it. By the time 2020 ended, I just managed to reach my adjusted goal of 20 books. This year, I’m planning to aim for just a little bit higher by read 25 books.

Post More Often

With most of my content being reviews and having read only 20 books last year, it’s no surprise that I was hardly posting. This year, I’m hoping that with a little more books, I will have a reason to post a little more often. Throw in the mix of weekly book memes and maybe a little more variety to my content (maybe I’ll start doing interviews?) I think I could squeeze in a good handful more posts.

Read Books in 5 New Genres/Subgenres

Last year, I started to branch out from my usual mystery thrillers. Previously, I would read fantasy from time to time but I usually just stuck with the same mystery thrillers and the same type of mystery thrillers (police procedural).

Last year, I tried all sorts of different genres such as nonfiction and military thriller [fiction], even trying out steampunk! This year, I’m hoping to read books in even more genres. I might even try out cozy mysteries!

🎵 It’s the 6th day of January and my TBR gave to meee… 🎵

…Three lovely booookss!

One of my sub resolutions (is that a thing? What about ‘mini resolutions’?) is to clear my 2020 review requests. So January is dedicated to getting two of those books read along with a separate third book for myself!

Image from Goodreads

River Queens Saucy boat, stout mates, spotted dog, America by Alexander Watson is the first of my two requests. An autobiography (memoir) the book is about two men, their spotted dog, and a restored yacht as they travel from Texas to Ohio. I’m quite interested in reading this because I rarely read nonfictions and this one looks really interesting. I kept meaning to start it, but then things got hectic. So, the time is now! This is my January priority book.

Image from Goodread

The Sheriff by David Scott Meyer is the second book in The Fellowship Series. If you’ve read my review of the first book back in October, you’ll remember me talking about the interesting choice of font. The author had provided me with both the first and the second book of Fellowship series/trilogy.

The first book had been pretty interesting and I was fascinated with the font choice. The entire book was practically in bold and look, when you read a ton of books with relatively the same font, something that sticks out as much as bold font just made it a very special read. Somehow…it also made it easier for me to read.

Anyways, I’m ready to tackle this next book up this month. I want to see where this series goes.

Image from Goodreads

The Hands We’re Given by O.E. Tearmann was found during the two weeks I was obsessed with cyberpunk, which was when Cyberpunk 2077 was just released and I was binging Youtube playthroughs of the game. My non-request read of the month; this book’s genres were Dystopia > Cyberpunk, LGBT > Transgender and it had cards on the cover and it sounded cool and it was part of those “Whoops my hands slipped” buying sprees via Amazon’s devilish One-Click button.

Did I mention the summary had one of my favorite troupes; ragtag team?

Welp, that’s it!

If I manage to finish all three books this month, than I can glide through my 2021 challenge by reading 2 books a month. Every year, my last 48 hours of the year reminds me that I am very much capable of finishing an entire book in a single day if I was motivated enough. If I was that motivated, I could read 365 books a year! But let’s not get carried away. Slow and steady now.

Mordecai’s Ashes [Book Review]


Book Name: Mordecai’s Ashes
Series: Larsson Investigations Book: 1
Author: Arlana Crane
Book Type: Physical > Paperback
Pages: 350
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Mystery Thriller, Suspense

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided to me, by the author, in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions in this review are of my own.

A big thank you to Arlana for sending me a copy!

Trigger Warnings and Content Warnings: Drugs, mention of drug related death, death, blood and gore, violence, guns

When I received it, I was obsessed over the cover. The combination of the raindrops and color choices made for a beautiful cover! It wraps around to the back of the book too!
The PI field is worlds away from his old job!

His wife has left him and he’s out of a job, luck isn’t on Karl Larsson’s side and it doesn’t look like it’s picking up anytime soon either. He’s distant from his family aside from his sister who, while being a bit naggy, is halfway across the globe and still makes sure to check in on him from time to time. Even if her calls can occasionally be a little bit condescending, Karl still favors her as his favorite sibling, because after all, it’s either Tilly (Matilda) or his two brothers and he much rather a call from her than a call from either Jakob or Liam.

Having his life rolled downhill and currently living in the valley of it all, his future didn’t seem promising…at least until he suddenly inherits his grandfather’s detective agency from his aunt Matilda’s will. He’s shocked, because he doesn’t even know his grandfather! 

But it was either this agency or working in Liam’s trucking business and Karl would rather eat a hornet’s nest than do that! Besides, it seemed interesting enough, even if he has no experience as a PI. With his previous job as an oil worker at the rigs, the detective world is a brand new world to him. His only resources are the file cabinets of records, invoices, procedures and processes, clients and contacts left over from the business’s previous owner. Now, at 27, Karl Larsson is the new owner of Abrams Investigations.

Taking on small cases initially (tracking down ex-partners gone poof with delinquent child-support payments and background checks), he later on hires his cousin, Kelsey, to help with the business. It’s just the two of them taking on small case after small case until he is hired by an old acquaintance and client of his grandfather to take a look at a drug smuggling case. With the matter being quite personal to his new client, Karl is both intrigued and excited, his first big job!

It’s not until shit hits the fan does Karl learn that he’s in way over his head, but at that point, he’s in too deep! With no options in backing out of this, it’s either forward or die!

Review

Engaging with solid characters, I found myself flying through the book. This book takes off right away. There’s no dilly-dalling on how Karl inherits Abrams Investigations. He’s on a call with Tilly to accompany his mother to the lawyer to discuss Matilda’s will and bam, our MC goes from broke, jobless, and living in his sister’s apartment to the owner of a business.

The family in the book consists of Karl’s mother, who comes off as kind of cold to me(?), Karl’s sister Matilda (or Tilly), and his brothers Liam and Jakob. There’s also Aunt Matilda (Tilly’s namesake) who has recently passed and then there’s Mordecai, Karl’s grandfather who he’s never met, the previous owner of Abrams Investigations. With all of Karl’s siblings being pretty successful people (Jakob being a commercial real estate broker, Liam with his trucking business, and Tilly halfway through her 2-year teaching contract (teaching English in Beijing), Karl’s the odd duckling out after losing his job and wife. He’s pretty estranged with his family with the sole exception of Tilly and even she’s barely making it. 

There’s always some form of obligatory love interest in these kind of books and when Karl’s cousin, Kelsey, is introduced as the main supporting female character, let me tell you the joy I felt…! Sure, nothing’s wrong with romance, but sometimes books that don’t need romance just always has that one love interest that always leads to that (minimum) one kiss scene. It’s refreshing. And speaking of Kelsey…

Smart as a whip, she is Karl’s younger cousin. While they haven’t really spoken in the last few years (her introduction scene is a whole “dang you grew!” “Well yeah I not 12 anymore, cuz 😒 ” moment), she is also one of the few that he’s always enjoyed being around besides Tilly. She helps him tend the office and hold down the fort when he’s away on jobs and is Karl’s brain to his drug-ring busting case. Her help was crucial early and Karl wouldn’t have made it as far without her. I really enjoyed her character.

Karl’s character is also written very well and you can see the pasture in him when trying to picture how green he is at this new job. He’s an ex-oiler worker and everyone in the family expects him to sell the business right away so that he can make enough profit to sustain him in his current down-on-luck situation. When he takes interest in Abrams, everyone, including Tilly, doesn’t expect him to make it far. The phrase “playing detective” is thrown around a lot as Karl not only struggles to understand PI work and keep the business going, but now he has to prove to his family that he means it when he said he was taking over. There are moments where I argued out loud with Karl because of something he did that was incredibly risky…but he doesn’t know better. He doesn’t have the mindset or caution of a man with years of detective experience. How could I be mad?

The other minor characters all have quite a bit life to them as well, even if some only get a flash moment in the book. You sort of get to know about Mordecai as Karl goes through past clients and cases (as well as from friends and family). You get to know Karl’s brothers who come off as very “All business, no need for friends” people. You meet Mordecai’s old friends, the downstairs bookshop owner, Percy, and his old client (and also friend) the reporter John Fullerton who is responsible for Karl’s first big case. John’s interest in this case is so passionate and this case is so personal to him, you just want to keep reading to see the reason behind the hatred.. There are plenty of other characters and some are a bit shady; you can easily tell who seems to be the bad guy in this book. Even as sketchy as they are, they’re written in a way that makes you feel almost sorry for them (ALMOST). 

Besides the characters, the writing itself is also done nicely. Engaging, engrossing and captivating, the writing in this book is smooth. The words flow well and it’s easy to read. The plot is great as well. We waste no time in how Karl receives the business and it goes straight to business as he learns to run Abrams. While it does slow down (just a little bit) after he takes over, it’s mostly because he’s taking on mostly only small cases as he learns the rope of the detective role. It’s not long before we get to the big-juicy steak of the story. Even the slow moments are filled with getting to know characters. After all, you have to show the readers that Karl is new and it’s a pretty big leap from small delinquent payors and background checks to a major high-risk drug smuggling case (with, mind you, no supervisor to seek tips and help from…only…only cabinets of old files, his cousin and his wits to guide him).

After Karl takes on the drug case, the plot gets intense. It’s truly a “hold your breath” moment then because Karl is really in it and there’s no turning back from it.

My last few mystery thrillers have all been police procedural and the MCs are generally part of the state or government. It’s been a while since I read a PI book and the dangers of the job really shows (not that being a cop is any more or less dangerous). However, as a PI and with Karl not fully knowing the law, he takes major risks and he goes in alone with only his cousin knowing where he might be. There’s no reporting to an upper supervisor. There’s no “I need back up!” It’s Karl alone out there and Kelsey alone to direct him. Both are untrained and new to the profession and it adds to the thrill and danger factor. 

A great book that is full of thrilling moments, you sit there in fear with Karl as he investigates this case. There are bar scenes and stealth scenes, there are scary moments and then there are head-thrown-back laughing moments. An enjoyable and smooth read, this book has well written characters and an engaging plot full of tension and breath holding moments. There’s a major twist in the end that I absolutely got a kick out of.

A great read, I give this book 5 cozy cups of coffee!

2020 Wrap Up

It’s nearly New Year’s and I almost didn’t meet my Goodreads challenge (again!). Just as I did the last two years, I waited until the last possible minute to finish up my reading goals. There was that one year that I finished my last book with minutes to midnight! 

This year has been an amazing reading year. I’m a very slow reader with 1 book a month being a major achievement.

In 2018, I tried to kick-start my reading hobby by setting up a goal to have my Goodreads challenge match the last number of that year: I was to read 8 books in 2018 and 9 books in 2019. In 2020, I didn’t want to make that jump from 9 to 20 books so I had started off with 10 books. Starting my blog in April seemed to have been the magical cure in motivating me to read just a little more because I eventually changed my goal to 20 after easily surpassing 10.

Ta-Daaa! And that’s 20!

It’s been a fun year! Last year, my books had been strictly fantasy and mystery-thriller with a single sci-fi thrown in. This year, I took a peek and fell in love with several new genres. I gave women’s fiction, contemporary romance, military thriller, legal thriller, nonfiction (autobiography > memoir), and even children’s books a try!

A huge shoutout to the amazing book community. I wouldn’t have made it if I wasn’t swimming in bookish content like I was. Nothing motivates you more than a community whose always talking about reading. Until next year, folks!

Book Reviews By Author

A

A.J. Tata
Reaper: Drone Strike by Nicholas Irving and A.J. Tata

Amanda Prowse
The Day She Came Back by Amanda Prowse

Arlana Crane
Mordecai’s Ashes by Arlana Crane

B

C

Carolyn Brown
The Family Journal by Carolyn Brown

D

Darren Wearmouth
Awakened by James S. Murray and Darren Wearmouth

David W. Berner
Walks with Sam by David W. Berner

David Scott Meyers
The Contractor by David Scott Meyers

Dave Ives
The Adventures of an Air Force Medic by Dave Ives

E

F

G

H

I

J

James S. Murray
Awakened by James S. Murray and Darren Wearmouth

Jamie Killen
Red Hail by Jamie Killen

John Sandford
Field of Prey by John Sandford
Mad River by John Sandford
Storm Front by John Sandford

K

Krista Cagg
The Milan Job by Krista Cagg

L

Lana Grace Riva
The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva

M

N

Nicholas Irving
Reaper: Drone Strike by Nicholas Irving and A.J. Tata

O

P

Q

R

S

Suze Krause
Sorry I Missed You by Suze Krause

T

U

V

Victor Methos
An Invisible Client

W

X

Y

Z

Teaser Tuesday 12-15-20

It’s Teaser Tuesday! A weekly bookish meme hosted by The Purple Booker where all you have to do is to grab your current read, pick a random page, and select a non-spoiler sentence or two (from somewhere on that page) to share! If you enjoy the teaser, you might even want to add it to your own TBR!

This Week’s Teaser is…

“He limped up the road to where the little orange beater waited, unlocked the door with unsteady hands, and slid carefully into the driver’s seat, even though he felt more like collapsing. He struggled out of his backpack and placed it on the seat beside him, then took several slow, deep breaths before starting the engine.”

Mordecai’s Ashes by Arlana Crane

If you liked what you just read…

The lines are from Mordecai’s Ashes by Arlana Crane!

GOODREADS SUMMARY

Karl Larsson is an out of work roughneck, home from the oil fields of Alberta and back on the west coast for the first time in years. His wife has left him and his future looks bleak. Becoming a detective is the last thing on his mind, but when Karl learns that he has inherited his estranged grandfather’s agency he decides to take a chance.

He doesn’t expect much action in a city as small as Victoria, BC, but Karl soon finds that Victoria is only the base of operations. His grandfather’s business took him across the length and breadth of Vancouver Island, and the Island is a world unto itself, with a culture all its own.

When a reporter from a national news agency asks him to investigate a drug running operation on the Island, Karl is drawn into a dangerous game. Finding the truth sounds simple in theory, but as Karl delves deeper he begins to realize that more than his life may be at stake.

Goodreads Link >HERE<
Barnes & Nobles Link >HERE<
Amazon Link >HERE<

Red Hail [Book Review]

To me, there’s two kinds of good: the “devoured in a single sitting good” and the “I want to savor every page” good and Red Hail was the latter.

Book Name: Red Hail
Series: Standalone Book: N/A
Author: Jamie Killen
Book Type: Ebook > Kindle 
Obtained: Review Request
Pages: 356
Genre: Mystery, Mystery Thriller, Sci-Fi
Rating: 5/5 

A copy of this book was provided to me by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are mine. 

Bookshop Link >HERE<
Goodreads Link >HERE<
Amazon Link >HERE<
Author’s Site Link >HERE<

Instead of the pale color of fresh ice, though, the hailstones had the raw crimson hue of uncooked meat. As Anza watched, they piled and began to melt while new stones fell onto the slush. It only took a minute for Dove’s front yard to transform into a red mass of gore. It sluiced down her driveway and into the road, forming a river of blood flowing down the slope

Page 6, Red Hail by Jamie Killen

Summary

Taking place in two timelines, 2020 and 1960, Red Hail weaves a story that connects both timelines together with a mysterious illness. Those that lived and survived through that horrid summer, back in 1960, wanted nothing more than to forget about the incident. 

The 1960 Red Hail was described as an incident where pieces of red hail fell from the skies in Galina, Arizona. Residents of Galina had no idea where it came from or what it was, only that it came suddenly and that the mysterious illness quickly followed. Paranoia and mass violence began to rip the town apart, in a witch hunt style, as fingers were pointed and races and religions were blamed to be the root cause of this madness. And then, just as instantly as the red hail and illness arrived to plague Galina, it had disappeared without a trace. In the end, the incident was written off as a summer of mass hysteria, there were no other new patients to follow nor did those already plagued with the symptoms continue to have them.

60 years afterwards, we follow the story of Professor Colin Ayres and his partner Alonzo. Colins had spent years researching the incident and had concluded it to be mass hysteria. However, soon Alonzo begins to exhibit the same symptoms as the Galina residents had several decades ago. As Alonzo’s condition worsens and others begin to show the same exact symptoms, Colin must get to the bottom of what’s happening and quick. 

Review

My take on this book? I loved it. To pieces. I shivered under blankets because of this book. Not particularly scary in any paranormal way, the symptoms that the people suffering from the illness displayed where horrifying to imagine. Coming in stages, the first stage wasn’t particularly terrifying but the second sure was. Hell, even when the illness progressed further, I think it was the second stage that still terrified me the most. Because it wasn’t human. The symptoms shown by those struck with the illness felt unreal, nightmare-like, and were very otherworldly. The chills crept in when you could feel Colin’s cold almost-lonely fear, through the pages, as he watches these symptoms develop in his beloved partner and he can’t do anything about it because nothing makes any medical sense! Even medicine can help alleviate symptoms when you can’t cure the disease, but what medicine do you give for symptoms that have no explanation? Alonzo (and the others suffering) doesn’t recall any of this. He just blacks out, one minute talking and the next wondering why people were staring at him.

I loved the split between the two set of characters and timelines. In the present day timeline, we have Colin, his partner Alonzo, and another person who makes contact with the professor after they also begin to exhibit symptoms. In 1960, we have a similar group of people who are going through the same thing. One tale shows the very beginning of when everything started and one tale uses the clues left behind by those same people to understand what’s happening in present day.

I loved both settings and characters, though the story in 1960 was much more riveting to read as people tried to piece together what the hells happening, but since they couldn’t, they turned to violence. The 1960 tale revolved around a much larger set of characters (besides the main three, there were also many different families, different churches, politicians and such). If I had to briefly sum them both up 2020: time to solve this mystery using clues from the first “plague” and 1960: chaos.

Absolutely a shining gem, the characters felt so real and all their fears tingled my own heart. People were frustrated, no answers were given, and by the end of the first “plague,” back in 1960, the residents didn’t even get any closure, the mysterious illness simply vanished. They just…had to move on with their lives like they aren’t all traumatized bringing us to 2020 where the mystery continues.

There were also several very strong female characters that I loved; a single mother who just wanted to get to the bottom of this thing plaguing both her and her son, and two in 1960 Galina who were there to experience the beginning of the end of the town when the hail first fell. 

The violence and riots that summer in 1960 felt so real. It gave the reader an huge sense of insecurity and it felt like nobody was safe, be it from the illness or the violence. You never know who was up next to fall ill. You don’t know whose is getting blamed next. Religion played a huge part because the first thing many folks think, when the sky rains blood, is that the end of the world is coming or it’s the devil’s work. And in times of uncertainty, many turn to prayers and look towards the church’s guidance and it’s up to the church leaders to act appropriately because desperate people are probably the scariest people out there. They will believe any theory and will do anything to get rid of the illness in a very violent “ends justify the means” way.

Eyes glued to the book, I went in slow, I went through slow, and when I realized the book was beginning to draw to an end, my paced dropped even further, I didn’t want it to end. 

Yet another hidden sci-fi gem, I had an amazing read.
Thank you Jamie for reaching out and for the amazing book!

Favorite Things About Book Formats

Currently Listening to: Welcome Back 20’s – Electro Swing Mix

Every now and then, I come across a question or poll about readers’ favorite reading format (Physicals [HC v. PB] , Digital, or Audio) and while my eyes tell me that hardcovers are the prettiest and are my “favorite”, I often change my mind as soon as I get in bed with one of those awkward cement blocks.

So I figured it’d be fun to make a post about my favorite things about each of the formats, because I love them all.

I hope you enjoy the read with my latest music [genre] obsession: electro-swing music.

HardcoversThe durable, weapon of choice, tomes of joy

They are heavy. Some are so big you could probably kill someone with it.
They make your bookshelf look cool.
They feel nice to hold and they look nice.
Carrying them around makes me feel like a badass mage holding a magic tome.

Hardcovers are one of my favorite book formats. To me, a hardcover just completes the reading mood (especially when sitting down with a nice warm cup of tea or coffee).

They tend to fair a lot better after a reading (or several re-reads). They’re more durable from the cover to their pages and the durability of my books are pretty important to me when I’m considering a format for physical. I’m pretty rough with my things and (until recently) I’ve never heard of protective booksleeves.

During my latest move, upsettingly, some of the paperbacks were damaged, with covers and pages being creased. One book’s spine was so bent it looked like someone had taken the book, slammed the corner against a wall, and the wall won (tragic). It’s nice to know that, despite not being completely accident proof, at least I have less to worry about when it comes to damages.

Paperback When the brick of a hardcover just won’t fit in your purse

I love hardbacks for all of the above reasons, but it’s hard to go about town with a brick in your purse. Occasionally, my current reads is a thinner hardcover, but most of the time, none of my hardcovers would fit in my purse. I don’t head out to errands with a backpack (I’ve been pickpocketed before so I’m wary about wearing bags behind me where I can’t see or feel the zipper opening).

This is where paperbacks come in. Cheaper than hardcovers and far lighter, I love paperbacks for their price and portability. Sometimes, I can’t even find the books I want in hardcover; they are print only as paperbacks! There’s often a range of PBs too from your normal sized PB to its mass market edition. If one doesn’t fit, maybe the other would.

Digital When your 10 physicals won’t fit in your suitcase, but thousands can fit in your pocket.

I can read it in bed while laying on my side; only one hand is needed to turn the page.
I can easily shuffle through dozens of books until I find the one I feel like reading for the day (when mood reading).
The soft glow won’t disturb your roommates or partner.
You can read anywhere; grocery line, laundry mat with no seats left, and even when on vacation overseas while visiting family and not having the wifi to toy with your game apps.
The ability to build vocabulary on the go…without a massive physical dictionary!

When I went on a family vacation to visit my hometown (and family living there) in Hong Kong two-ish summers ago, my family didn’t buy any crazy phone plans and I ended up with one of those phone chips with a very low internet and service cap. Naturally, trying to conserve my phone’s data and reserving it for emergencies only, I had nothing left but my Kindle (I didn’t even bring any gaming consoles) and that’s what I did for the entire month. My Kindle (lovingly named Teddy) saved me when I had absolutely nothing to do while waiting for the rest of the family to finish their looooonnngg shopping trips at the shopping centers.

I ate through several books for the weight of one of them.

AudiobooksBooks on the go!

I don’t read a lot of audiobooks. Sound is something I always put as background noise when I’m working and so I quickly zone out when listening to audiobooks. However, of the few that I have read, I can safely say that audiobooks take the throne when multitasking or when I’m in a situation where I can’t read (packed trains, on a walk/run, etc.)

Sometimes I’m just too busy to fit reading into my schedule, whether it’s before or after work, but I often have time to catch up on books during my hour long lunch breaks. I no longer carry books to work, opting to go on a walk instead, so that I’m not stuck in a working environment for 9 hours straight. It’s pretty hard to read words on the go so audiobooks are quite handy during those afternoon strolls!

Audio books are also perfect when I’m not doing word related tasks like drawing and sketching or outlining my bullet journal for the week.

This or That Book Tag

Thank you Cassie for tagging me in the This or That book tag! It was such a fun tag and a great to end my weekend! Please take a look at her blog too because she’s awesome 💓

Rules

  • Mention the creator of the tag (A huge thank you to Ayunda, over at @ Tea and Paperbacks, for creating this!)
  • Thank the blogger who tagged you! Thank you Cassie! Go shower her blog with lots of love too!
  • Tag 10 other people to do the tag and spread the love!

☆ Reading on the Couch or on the Bed? ☆

I can’t read on any soft surfaces/furniture. I slowly get sleepy and never get anywhere. The best place for me to read is at my desk with a cup of tea and my book on the table. If I had to choose though, it’d be the couch. I will fall asleep if I read in bed.

☆ Sweet or Salty Snacks While Reading? ☆

I don’t like to eat while reading, mainly due to getting sticky sweets or oily foods all over my books. If I do have snacks with me, I tend to pop one in my mouth and not stop until the whole plate’s wiped clean before I even get a chapter in (heehee oops?). However, since I do drink tea while reading, sweets tend to pair better with it. Chocolate covered almonds are a perfect treat!

☆ Trilogies or Quartets? ☆

Unless it’s a series with a case by case plot (like most police procedural or mystery/crime thriller series), I tend to get bored. Quartets are a bit too long because most of the time, I’m already “series fatigued” by the end of book two so a trilogy is just right.

☆ First Person or Third Person POV? ☆

Third. If I had to pick and read only one POV for the rest of my life, I’d still go with third.

☆ Night or Morning Reader? ☆

On weekdays, I don’t have the time to read in the morning and on weekends, I’m too busy catching up on precious Zzzs to read in the morning. I’m a zombie before my coffee and by the time breakfast is done with, it’s closer to noon or afternoon so reading then wouldn’t count. I’m definitely a night reader.

☆ Libraries or Bookstore? ☆

I prefer bookstores. Barnes and Nobles (at least the ones I’ve been to) all have coffee shops in them so I can grab a drink and start making my way through all of the aisles. I love their clearance sections where I can find all sorts of genres just thrown into one shelf/cart and you’re introduced to new things. They usually have a journal, bookish goods, toys, writing, and gift areas too. I do love my local library though, because in bookstores, I feel the pressure that I NEED to buy something if I spend so long in the store versus a library, I can spend it reading my own book and leave not feeling guilty for staying for a spell. Still, I prefer bookstores because they’re just so magical.

☆ Books that Make you Laugh or Make you Cry? ☆

I’ve read books that have given me a good chuckle and books where I cried from the first to the last page. I like the laughing books more. Sad books make me sad.

☆ Black or White Book Covers? ☆

I like my shelf in a rainbow 🌈

☆ Character Driven or Plot Driven? ☆

Both are important, of course, but I find myself way more invested in the characters than in the plot. Which is why I love fanfictions so much. So long as the writers keep everyone in character, I love seeing them in an array of different settings and alternate universes, not just the original main plot (coffee shop AUs anyone?)

☆ I tag ☆

☆ Colleen over at Colleen’s Conclusions
☆ Caroline over at Page-Turners
☆ Naomi over at Naomi’s Reading Corner
☆ Carmen over at Carmen’s Reading Corner
☆ Karen over at Twisted in Pages
☆ Sammie over at The Bookwyrm’s Den
☆ Jessica over at Just Reading Jess
☆ Dani over at My Heart is Booked
☆ Hayley over at Hayley’s Book Room
☆ Lily over at Lily Reads

The Sunshine Blogger Award Tag

A huge thank you to Tabitha over at Behind the Pages and Mònica over at Nightingfae for tagging me in this award. Please take a moment to take a look at both of their amazing blogs as well 💓

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive and inspiring while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.

How does it work?

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Tabitha’s Questions

Why did you become a blogger?

I was bored during quarantine and with all of my friends starting their own little quarantine projects, small businesses, and art projects, I wanted to have my own little project too. Blogging wasn’t the first thing to pop in my mind, but I knew I wanted to spend more time reading.

What is your favorite part about blogging?

Meeting new people that share the same interest. I don’t get to chat about books (and their subsequent book hangovers) much with my friends so it’s nice to have people that understand why you’re sobbing over a character or book.

What is your least favorite part about blogging?

Putting your heart into a post that gets maybe 10 views. Going in, I never thought about the whole behind-the-scenes aspect of blogging, so it never really occurred to me to look into this whole SEO thing until now. Funny enough, this doesn’t bother me as much anymore.

What book are you looking forward to reading the most off of your to read pile?

I’m looking forward to re-reading the first book of the Chronicles of the Black Company and another book that I had recently unearthed (long thought to have been lost forever), Dome City Blues. I’m currently going through a bit of a mercenary and cyberpunk phase.

Who is the latest author you’ve added to your favorites list?

Amanda Prowse because her book, The Day She Came Back, had me crying nearly every other chapter. I’ve never cried so much, while reading, before!

What was the last book you finished reading? Did you like it?

The last book I read was “The Contractor” by David Scott Meyers and while it wasn’t bad, I didn’t particularly LIKE it either. Still, I’m invested enough to keep going (I want to see how it ends.)

What advice do you have for new bloggers?

Make sure to take breaks when you need them. Don’t feel pressured to stick to a posting schedule and have fun!

What is your favorite social media to interact with fellow readers?

TWITTER!

How do you overcome a reading slump?

Fanfictions and Ao3 always gets me back into the right mood. I don’t know where I’d be without fanfictions in my life. I also regularly “treat” myself to a book in a favorite series if I’m in a slump or just came out of a bad book.

What is your preferred way to read?

Physical at home, on my phone if I’m out on errands (those loonnngg lines!), and on my Kindle if I’m commuting.

Describe yourself with a book title.

Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child 😭

Mònica’s Questions

What’s the origin of your blog name?

I literally changed my blog name several times in the beginning. There’s no cool origin story other than throwing some words together. Fun fact, the first name I had given my blog was “Good Fish” (a play on Goodreads) or “Good Fish Reads,” Why? NO idea. I kind of wish I kept it 🤔

When and why did you decide to become a blogger?

I think it was around March or April of this year (2020)? It was during my work-from-home period. I saw all of my friends starting their own passion projects and, being bored out of my mind, I had nothing else to do so…I went for it! (Best decision all year!)

What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?

Shockwave by John Sandford. I can’t explain why this is my default book to recommend when people ask for a book rec, but the adrenaline I felt with this book blew me away (pun intended).

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Who’s in your top 3 of favourite authors?

Oof. This is a hard question! I’d have to say Lee Child, John Sandford and Michael J. Sullivan. Lee got me into my favorite genre (Mystery Thrillers), Sandford for my favorite series (Virgil Flowers), and Michael for my favorite Fantasy series (Riyria).

Which character you hate/dislike the most, and why?

I’m pretty sure I have a big a** crush on Virgil Flowers. Why? He’s a good looking cop, I like his sense of humor, and has pretty decent morals. He always tries his best to avoid violence. I also LOVE Prince Jalan from the Red Queen’s War series because he’s a loveable coward with shitty luck. Jalan comes in for a very close second place!

If you could meet one character, which one would it be, and why?

Kiran from Whitefire Crossing. He’s a bloodmage who is trying to run from his horrible master. I want to meet him just so I can give him a hug. That boy needs a hug.

Do you prefer second-handed or new books?

New books, but I truly don’t mind second hand as long as they’re in pretty decent shape. For example, my Black Company omnibus came in great condition. It’s a paperback with no creases, no dogears and the binding is great. Now…if only it didn’t smell like VOMIT…(apparently that’s from poorly kept books with acidic pages??).

My all-time favorite books are books off library carts(or sidewalk cardboard boxes) with the sign, “Take me! Free books!” Now those books become my favorite books and it feels like I’m adopting a book, ya know? While new books are fantastic (who doesn’t want new books?) in retrospect, I guess I really do tend to lean more towards second-hand books.

Which is your favourite book-to-movie/TV series adaptation?

I don’t think I’ve seen a book to movie/TV series show before (besides HP). I think I’ve mentioned in another tag post, once I’ve established my own mental images of characters, I refuse to have them re-casted. It would ruin the book for me and so…none for me 😂 (I also…don’t watch TV or have Netflix/Hulu/Etc.)

Do you have more than one copy of a book? If yes, which one?

Yes 😅 Both the Kindle and the Paperback version of the first omnibus (first 3 books) of the Chronicles of the Black Company.

Do you create playlists for your favourite books? Share them if you do!

No, unfortunately 😦
However, I can share my favorite relaxation (type? format? method?)! It’s a two tab, two video at once deal! One is a bar ambience video on loop (doors opening, people chatting, glass clinking, etc.) and the other is what I like to call “Cafe Jazz.” Together, they help create a nice little café mood setting.

My Questions

  1. If you could wipe your mind of ONE book/series, just so you can experience it for the first time again, what books/series would it be for?
  2. Do you have a favorite book couple? Who are they?
  3. Pick your favorite book setting and then pick your favorite real life setting. What are they?
  4. If you could meet a character and interview them, what are your top three questions?
  5. If your favorite character was granted three genie wishes, what would they wish for?
  6. If YOU had three bookish wishes, what would YOU wish for?
  7. What is your favorite type of blog post?
  8. Do you enjoy writing your posts in the morning or night?
  9. Would your favorite book/series make for a good video game? How about a movie or TV show?
  10. You’re stuck in jail with the last character you read. What’re your chances of breaking out?
  11. What is your favorite genre to read?

I Tag

Caroline over at Page-Turners – Book Reviews by Caroline
Madeline over at Mad’s Books
Colleen over at Colleen’s Conclusions
Vee over at Vee_Bookish
Pam over at The Picky Bookworm
Isabella over at The Shaggy Shepherd
Raji over at Worlds Unlike Our Own
Mani over at Mani’s Book Corner
Kimberly over at My Bookish Bliss
John over at Tales from Absurdia
Peyton over at Word Wilderness

Happiness comes in a mug and a few inked pages

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