WWW Wednesday (1) – May 11, 2022

Hello, everyone! I’m excited to be trying something new today that will hopefully become a weekly occurrence here on the blog: participation in WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words. I’ve really enjoyed reading other bloggers posts each week for this meme. So, I decided to give it a shot myself! I’ll be answering the following questions:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?
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Top 5 Tuesday – Top 5 Drinks for Reading

Hello everyone! Welcome back for another Top 5 Tuesday! The prompt for today is my top 5 drinks for reading. In general, I’m pretty basic when it comes to what I drink. So, this is going to be a pretty boring list. lol. I detest tea with a passion. I don’t particularly like coffee that much either, but I’ll occasionally drink it if it has lots of sugary stuff in it. I also don’t really drink alcohol anymore. I’ve never really cared for the taste unless it is drowned out in some sort of delicious cocktail, and I only drink cocktails when I go out, which hasn’t happened in a couple of years at this point. After the cancer surgeries and treatments, I honestly just sort of lost interest in alcohol. So, it is not making this list either. What does that leave? Read on to find out! Top 5 Tuesday was created by Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm, and is now being hosted at Meeghan Reads!

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Monthly Wrap-Up: April 2022

Hello, everyone! How is it already May? April was a pretty good month. The first week or so I was still recovering from oral surgery, but I’m grateful there were no complications. I’m feeling better now and am all healed up. I also went on a short vacation over the Easter holiday, which was nice. I haven’t left the house much since COVID started. So, it was nice to have a change of scenery even if it was only for a few days. Unsurprisingly, the other major thing that happened this month was that I read A LOT. I participated in two readathons and ended up reading even more than usual. Scroll below to see all the details!

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Exciting Announcement About BBNYA 2022

Hello, everyone! Today’s post is short but very, very exciting. I’m happy to announce that I’m a panelist for the 2022 Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year Award! I’ve been lucky enough to participate in the blog tours for some of the past participants and winners, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be a panelist myself this year. I’m looking forward to reading lots of fantastic indie books and getting to know some new bloggers as part of this process. If you would like to learn more about this competition, you can visit the BBNYA website. Sign-ups are still open for both panelists (until May 14th) and authors (until May 28th). So, if you fall into either category and want to participate, be sure to sign up soon!

Badge created by Jenn @JennieLy from Jenniely.com

First Lines Fridays (47) – May 6, 2022

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers 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!
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Mini Book Review – Victory’s Price

Hello, everyone! Today I’m reviewing the final installment of the Alphabet Squadron trilogy, Victory’s Price by Alexander Freed. I’ve had this one on my shelf for over a year, and it was on two different TBRs last year. I never got to it, though. So, I’m happy to have finally gotten around to it and finished off this trilogy.

The aces of the New Republic have one final chance to defeat the darkness of Shadow Wing in this thrilling conclusion to the Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron trilogy!

In the wake of Yrica Quell’s shocking decision—and one of the fiercest battles of their lives—the remnants of Alphabet Squadron seek answers and closure across a galaxy whose old war scars are threatening to reopen.

Soran Keize has returned to the tip of Shadow Wing’s spear. Operation Cinder, the terrifying protocol of planetary extermination that began in the twilight of the Imperial era, burns throughout the galaxy. Shadow Wing is no longer wounded prey fleeing the hunters of the New Republic. With its leader, its strength has returned, and its Star Destroyers and TIE squadrons lurk in the darkness between stars, carrying out the fallen Emperor’s final edict of destruction—as well as another, stranger mission, one Keize has championed not for the dying Empire, but for its loyal soldiers.

Alphabet Squadron’s ships are as ramshackle and damaged as their spirits, but they’ve always had one another. Now, as they face the might of Keize’s reborn juggernaut, they aren’t sure they even have that. How do you catch a shadow? How do you kill it? And when you’re finally victorious, who pays the price?

I haven’t always been the biggest fan of this series or of Freed’s dense narrative style, but I really enjoyed this book. I was surprised by how much I’ve come to care for these characters after feeling rather apathetic about the first book. Each of them had really great arcs in this story with a mix of many bad ass and emotional moments. I particularly liked all the Hera Syndulla content, and I think the author completely captured her essence. As always, Freed did a fantastic job of creating immersive space battle scenes that had me on the edge of my seat. There was lots of action throughout the book, and the pace kept things pretty intense. However, there were also plenty of great quieter moments between the characters, which gave this book a nice balance. I liked the focus on the New Republic and its struggle to gain control without resorting to becoming like the Empire. It explored the ongoing war in a way that wasn’t black and white while illustrating the humanity of both sides. This was definitely an interesting and tumultuous time period for the Star Wars galaxy, and I hope to see even more content from this era in the future. Overall, this book was an excellent conclusion that has shifted my feelings for the series in a more positive direction. Therefore, I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Monthly TBR – May 2022 (May the Force Read with You Readathon Edition)

Hello, everyone! Happy Star Wars Day! In honor of the day, today’s post is my TBR for May, which centers around the May the Force Read with You Readathon created by Breakeven Books. I was so excited to find this readathon because I wanted to do something Star Wars related this month. I’ve chosen to walk the path to the dark side, which has five levels. To become a Dark Lord of the Sith, I need to develop five force abilities (AKA read five books). Along the way I plan to build my team of allies and my weapons collection by reading even more books. This TBR is a mix of ARCs I really need to get to and books that have been on previous TBRs, along with a couple recent releases. I’m behind on ARCs for the first time, and it’s making me anxious. So, I’m going to try to get caught up on everything this month… I’m also looking forward to finally (hopefully) getting to Little Thieves and Victory’s Price since I’ve been wanting to read them since last year.

If you are interested in learning more about the readathon and the prompts, I’ve embedded the announcement video below. There is also a pdf of the different prompts available in the video description on Youtube.

May the force be with you!

Blog Tour ARC Review – The Knave of Secrets

Hello, everyone! This evening I have another review as part of TheWriteReads blog tour for The Knave of Secrets by Alex Livingston. That’s right! Two blog tours in two days. I’m not gonna lie… I’ve been scrambling to get both of these done on time, but it has been a lot of fun, as well. Thank you to Rebellion Publishing and TheWriteReads for allowing me to participate! Now on to the book!

Book Info & Links

Author: Alex Livingston

Print Length: 400 pages

Publication Date: June 7, 2022

Goodreads | Amazon

Book Blurb

A twisty tale of magicians, con artists and card games, where secrets are traded and gambled like coin, for fans of The Lies of Locke Lamora and The Mask of Mirrors.

Never stake more than you can afford to lose.

When failed magician turned cardsharp Valen Quinol is given the chance to play in the Forbearance Game—the invitation-only tournament where players gamble with secrets—he can’t resist. Or refuse, for that matter, according to the petty gangster sponsoring his seat at the table. Valen beats the man he was sent to play, and wins the most valuable secret ever staked in the history of the tournament.

Now Valen and his motley crew are being hunted by thieves, gangsters, spies and wizards, all with their own reasons for wanting what’s in that envelope. It’s a game of nations where Valen doesn’t know all the rules or who all the players are, and can’t see all the moves. But he does know if the secret falls into the wrong hands, it could plunge the whole world into war…

My Review

***Thank you to TheWriteReads and Rebellion Publishing for providing a copy of the book. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***

This was a fun read. There was tons of political intrigue, interesting magic, and intricate world-building. The writing was good, and the narrative style did a great job of setting up the tone of the world. The plot was a bit slow at times, especially in the second quarter of the book, but the excitement of the games and mysteries kept me engaged for most of it.

The world and magic system were probably my favorite things about this book. The political situation was tense, and the history of each nation was fascinating to learn about. The Seminaire brotherhood of magicians was an interesting concept, and I wish even more time had been spent on learning about their order and the magic, and secrets, they held. There was also a wealth of information about the different games of chance played by the people in this world, which I’m sure some people will appreciate. Personally, I wish more time had been spent on the magic and less on the different games. Furthermore, I enjoyed the political intrigue but found it to be quite confusing for the first half of the book because I kept losing track of whose side certain characters were on. Once some of the secrets came out, it all made more sense, but the author’s attempts at showing the different political ties in the first half without any type of primer on the world’s history/alliances really fell flat. All in all, though, the world was fascinating, and I think it has a lot of untapped potential for future stories (if the author decides to make this more than a standalone).

I liked many of the characters, but they all felt a bit two-dimensional. Valen was probably the most well-rounded, and I liked his personality. I enjoyed seeing him become an unlikely hero, and his struggle with guilt about the consequences of his gambling and cheating was probably the most compelling character arc. I also really liked getting a middle-aged protagonist, and the relationship he had with his wife was something I loved reading. They were just so supportive of each other and worked great together while attempting to build their dreams into reality. Many of the other POVs really could have been eliminated. The stories of the two ambassadors felt like filler and a way to impart knowledge about the current political situation. However, as I noted above, they only served to make me more confused, and Ria’s perspective and motivations honestly felt a bit inconsistent. In general, the characters were fun to read, though, and many of them had plenty of great moments. They just all felt a bit wooden.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read filled with interesting magic, espionage, and lots of secrets. The ideas were good even if the execution of all aspects of the story weren’t as great as I’d hoped. Therefore, I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

About the Author

Alex Livingston grew up in various quiet New England towns before moving to Buffalo, NY to study English at Canisius College. He writes SFF prose and interactive fiction. Alex is married and lives in an old house with his brilliant wife and a pile of aged videogame systems.

Top 5 Tuesday – Top 5 Snacks for Reading

Hello everyone! Welcome back for another Top 5 Tuesday! The prompt for today is the top 5 snacks for reading. In general, I don’t really eat that much while I’m reading. The food tends to distract me from the book, and I’ll often end up sitting down and eating the entire snack before I even get back to reading. I’m also super picky about keeping my books in good condition. So, eating while reading a physical book is something I’m probably unlikely to do unless the snack doesn’t dirty my fingers. That being said, I do tend to snack some when reading on my Kindle or listening to an audiobook, especially audiobooks since it is easy to listen and munch without getting distracted. Top 5 Tuesday was created by Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm, and is now being hosted at Meeghan Reads!

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