Monday’s Minutes

“Monday’s Minutes” is a weekly post in which I track my bookish life.  All book covers are linked to Goodreads unless otherwise noted.

Current Reads:

InkdeathLestat Fangirl Life

Raven King


  • Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty
  • Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Serafina Blue


Total pages read: 576

Total # of books for the year: 28.  I’m late with this post because it’s Memorial Day; one of the darkest days of the year for me.  It’s not a “happy” day and I don’t “celebrate” it because the definitions of those words don’t match up with what this day means.  Instead, I stay off the internet to avoid all the attempts at patriotism and photos and videos that rip my heart into pieces even more than this day already does.  I don’t go to cookouts or pool parties or waste money on useless crap that is on sale during a day when most people don’t have to work.  Instead, I remember the soldiers I knew personally who were killed while in Iraq or Afghanistan and the funerals I attended for those who came back but couldn’t get those places out of their heads.  I also practice a lot of self-care.  I’ll be back later this week.

What are you reading this week?

#ShelfLove: Literary Travels

Shelf Love Challenge 2016

This month’s #ShelfLove discussion is all about the real places in books that we would visit.  While I would love to say I’d go on a road trip across the US, visiting all the literary spots that American literature has to offer, I realized after being honest with myself that the literary locations I want to travel to are, with one exception, in Europe.  Without further ado, here is the literary vacation I would take if time and money weren’t an issue.

First stop: Scotland

Scotland - Moyan Brenn
Image: Moyan Brenn

If you are someone who knows me well enough to know what my favorite series is, then you would also know that the first place I would visit, and where I want to someday move to, is Scotland.  Particularly the Highlands of Scotland, but, thanks to the Boyfriend’s Scottish roots, I would also traipse around the Lowlands.  I would probably need a year to see every little spot and visit every library and bookstore.

Next stop: England

Platform 9 34 - rawen
Image: rawen
Bust of J.R.R. Tolkien -summonedbyfells
Image: summonedbyfells










I wouldn’t spend nearly as much time in England, but it would still take me awhile to see everything because I would visit for two reasons.  The first being that I would have to visit every real place mentioned in the Harry Potter series.  The second being that I could not go to England without seeing anything and everything related to J.R.R Tolkien.  Also, I would want to stay in Podditon.  Perhaps half a year would suffice.


Next stop: France

Cuisery - marnix.catteeuw
Image: marnix.catteeuw

I would spend even less time in France, but I added it to my list of literary vacation spots after I read The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George.  The idea of slowly making my way down the Seine in a barge full of books and stopping for a long visit in Cuisery while improving my spoken French seems like the perfect way to spend a lazy month or two.

Last stop: New Zealand

Hobbiton - Tom Hall
Image: Tom Hall

This is another obvious choice if you know me well enough to know my all-time favorite book.  Thanks to that book and The Lord of the Rings books being made into movies, I can now visit the home of my people, Hobbiton, as well as other Middle Earth locations.  I would probably only stay here for a week or so before heading back home to Texas.

If you won the lottery or had a seemingly endless trust fund and lots of time to kill, where would you go?

DNF Review: Sadie Sugarspear and the Weeping Willow


  • Author: Nicole Arlyn
  • ISBN: 9781633700260
  • Publisher: Full Fathom Five
  • Genre: Adult Fantasy
  • Pages: 53

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


The reason why I stopped reading this book is because of the two scenes of sexual violence that occurred not even halfway through this 53-page novella.  The blurb on Goodreads is much better at pointing out the fact that this book may trigger some readers, but all the blurb on Netgalley says is, “This book is intended for mature audiences” and Sadie’s step-father’s “cruelty.”  I didn’t know that was code for “graphic sexual violence.”  Otherwise, I wouldn’t have requested it.


#FitReaders Check-In

  • This check-in is for May 20th – 26th.
  • I finally lost another pound, but I’m not counting it as truly gone until it hasn’t returned for a week.
  • This week, my goal was to average 9k steps per day.  That didn’t happen, even though I started out the week with enough extra steps to have a couple rest days.  However, my mood, my feet, and the weather combined to keep me from walking enough to meet my goal.  I may have to get a bit tougher with myself to make sure I get my steps.
  • On the plus side, I went well over my stairs and active minutes goals.
  • If you’d like to add me as a friend on FitBit, you can find me HERE.
  • Steps: 52,097/63,000
  • Miles: 21.42/22.75
  • Flights of stairs: 110/70
  • Active Minutes: 331/210
  • Monthly 5K Races Completed: 2/10
  • Monthly 1 Mile Fun “Runs” Completed: 2/10
  • Total Money Donated: $18.75/$100.00

Review: Billy Lovecraft Saves the World


  • Author: Billy Lovecraft
  • ISBN: 9781620077870
  • Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
  • Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy/Horror
  • Pages: 188

I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


The last thing Billy Lovecraft’s parents sent him before the crash was a photo of something on the wing of their plane.

Now he’s stuck with a horrible and heart-breaking mystery: What was that awful creature, and why were his parents targeted?

It’s up to Billy to gather a team of like-minded kids and lead them through a dark new reality where the monsters are real, not everyone is who they seem to be, and an ancient alien wants to devour the world. – Goodreads

This is one of those books that I would have raved about on Twitter if I could have stopped myself from reading it long enough to do so.  Instead, I plowed through the pages as if they were going to be erased from my Kindle before I could finish.  I had so much fun reading Billy Lovecraft Saves the World that I’m beginning to think I enjoy Middle-Grade Fantasy and Horror above all other genres and subgenres.

I also sort of wish I had saved this book for October.  It’s the perfect read for that time of year since it’s a giant nod to H.P. Lovecraft, the king of the weird tale.  It’s also the perfect book for any fan of H.P. Lovecraft to give their kid as an introduction to his brand of Horror.  There are only a few tense, mildly frightening moments that the majority of Middle-Grade children could easily handle while also discovering the world and creatures H.P. Lovecraft invented.  Who wouldn’t want their kids to find out the awesomeness of the classic works of genre fiction?

The greatest part of Billy Lovecraft Saves the World is that I never once had to forcibly suspend disbelief.  I was fully immersed in the story and didn’t come back up for air until the end of the last page.  If you’re at all a fan of Middle-Grade Horror or H.P Lovecraft, you have to read this book.



DNF Review: Escape from Netherworld


  • Author: David Kuklis
  • ISBN: 9781595719942
  • Publisher: Word Association Publishers
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Pages: 231

I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


I thought this would be the perfect humorous Fantasy novel and I would fly through it within a couple of hours and rave about it on social media.  It would have been that kind of book if it weren’t for the majority of it being horribly written dialogue.  I’m not talking silly one-liners.  It has plenty of those, but I was expecting that with Escape from Nether World.  No, I’m talking about the kind of dialogue that doesn’t have any slang or natural contractions.  The characters spoke like robots.

The other issue I had with this book was that after the characters find themselves in Nether World, the story plays out like the very beginning of any video game, but nothing ever seemed to get any more difficult for them than that.  Everything up until I gave up on the book (at around 50 pages) happened too easily.  I just couldn’t take any more of what seemed to be an entire story of Level One, “here’s how you play the game” training mode events.


Review: Emissary


  • Author: Thomas Locke
  • ISBN: 9780800723859
  • Publisher: Revell
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Pages: 400

I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Hyam has always shown a remarkable ability to master languages, even those left unspoken for a thousand years. But now the shadow of suspicion that was cast upon him as a child prodigy at Long Hall is lengthening, and he must keep his identity hidden–or face annihilation.

As Hyam’s mother slips toward death, she implores him to return to Long Hall before he settles down to farm his land. This journey born from duty becomes an impassioned quest for the truth. War is coming swiftly, and Hyam must rely upon his newfound powers and the friends he meets along the way in order to unravel the puzzling past and ensure that he–and the realm–will have a future. – Goodreads

Emissary is your standard Fantasy genre novel.  It wasn’t too pulpy, but it also wasn’t so amazing that I would add it to my list of all-time faves.  It’s also the first book of a series called “Legends of the Realm.”  However, I’m not in any hurry to pick up the second book, Merchant of Alyss.

The singular reason for not rushing head-long into the next book is because the author tossed in the one trope I’m so beyond sick of seeing.  Why is it that every time there is a male and female character a romance develops, regardless of the situation in which the two meet?!  Why can’t they be friends or partners, and why can’t the woman exist in and add to the story on her own without being romantically linked to the main character?

If it weren’t for the addition of an unnecessary and hasty “this is true love”, I would give Emissary four stars.  If you have no problem with that particularly tired trope, and you’re a fan of the traditional Fantasy genre (and you probably are if you’re reading this blog), then give this book a chance.  It’s a solid three-star read.




Monday’s Minutes

“Monday’s Minutes” is a weekly post in which I track my bookish life.  All book covers are linked to Goodreads unless otherwise noted.

Current Reads:

InkdeathLestat Serafina

Fangirl Life


  • The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente




Total pages read: 479

Total # of books for the year: 26.  I’ve still got 5 reviews to write, and I’m hoping to have them posted before #COYER and my Sci-Fi Summer reading challenge start.  Normally, I would think that wouldn’t be a problem, but I’m still struggling to find enough free moments I can string together to concentrate on a single piece of writing.  While some people can start and stop writing a blog post as other things demand their attention, I’ve found that I’m at my best when I write a review in one go.  Otherwise, I can’t remember what I wanted to write and I wind up staring at the screen in confusion.  What book was that?  Why did I enjoy it?  DID I enjoy it?  What do these chicken scratches in my book journal mean? *sigh*  Hopefully signing up for the Infomagical challenge will help.  Thanks, Andi, for mentioning it!

Image: Kevin McCauley

What are you reading this week?

#COYER Summer Vacation!

COYER Summer

The COYER Summer Vacation reading challenge is from June 18th to September 2nd, and I’ll be participating!  The lovely hosts of COYER have decided to throw out the rules and allow ANY book, regardless of price or format.  I’m super excited about this because during most of the challenge, I’ll be hosting my Sci-Fi Summer reading challenge, and a large chunk of the Science Fiction titles I own are physical editions, which is what I want to concentrate on clearing from my TBR mountain since I’m also participating in the Shelf Love reading challenge.  That’s THREE awesome challenges!

Since the rules for COYER have been tossed like hot potatoes for the Summer, I’m not setting any goals.  I’m just going to read as much as I can, mostly Sci-Fi, but also a few of my ARCs that have publication dates between June and September.  This is going to be a wonderful Summer! 🙂

Are you participating in the COYER Summer Vacation reading challenge?

Sci-Fi Summer Reading Challenge

SCI-FI SUMMERReading Challenge

There’s Sci-Fi November, and Vintage Sci-Fi January, but for me, the Summer is the time of year that is best for reading Science Fiction.  I don’t know why.  Do you think I make the rules of when I read certain genres or books?  Oh…wait…I do.  Or maybe my cat Dresden does?  He seems to be Lord and Master of the rest of my life, so it stands to reason that he does.  Regardless,  from June 20th, the official first day of Summer, to the 21st of September (the day before the Autumnal Equinox), I’m reading as much Sci-Fi as possible.  I’ve got a lot of it on my TBR shelves, and I’m inviting all of you to join me.

Since I’d like to make this a legitimate annual reading challenge, below are the levels:

  • Red Shirt – 1 to 5 books
  • Viper Pilot – 6 to 10 books
  • Jedi – 11 to 15 books
  • Time Lord – 16 or more books

Any book of at least 100 pages that is classified as Science Fiction, including any Sci-Fi subgenres, qualifies for this challenge.  That means audiobooks, physical books, ebooks, library books, free books, other borrowed books, anthologies, and graphic novels are all acceptable options.  You may also count any Sci-Fi book that counts towards another reading challenge.  On June 20th, I’ll post the link up for your reviews, and it will stay open until September 25th.

Are you up to the Science Fiction Summer challenge?  Link up your sign-up posts below:


The sign-up will remain open until September 14th, a week before the challenge ends.