Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Review: Network Effect by Martha Wells

Network Effect
(The Murderbot Diaries #6)
Martha Wells
Release: May 5, 2020
Goodreads Amazon
Murderbot returns in its highly-anticipated, first, full-length standalone novel.

You know that feeling when you’re at work, and you’ve had enough of people, and then the boss walks in with yet another job that needs to be done right this second or the world will end, but all you want to do is go home and binge your favorite shows? And you're a sentient murder machine programmed for destruction? Congratulations, you're Murderbot.

Come for the pew-pew space battles, stay for the most relatable A.I. you’ll read this century.

I’m usually alone in my head, and that’s where 90 plus percent of my problems are.

When Murderbot's human associates (not friends, never friends) are captured and another not-friend from its past requires urgent assistance, Murderbot must choose between inertia and drastic action.

Drastic action it is, then.

Oh, Murderbot! How I have missed you! This book gets all the stars!!! ALL THE STARS! In my opinion, Murderbot is the best sci-fi character ever hands down. Sorry, Mark Watney! You're now number 2 in my sci-fi loving heart.

Since this is the first full length novel in this series I had high expectations going into it and it freaking blew them out of the water! It was everything I wanted it to be and more! Okay! Okay! I'll be done gushing now and get on with the actual review.

Murderbot is now a "citizen" of Preservation and is frequently hired to act as the security consultant for their associates (never friends) when they need them to. The book starts off fantastically with Murderbot saving a new Preservation team filled old faves and new characters (including Mensah's teenage daughter) from pirates and it's non-stop action from there.

The plot was fast-paced and filled with a mystery that Murderbot literally gets dragged into by another old non-friend. I won't say much about the storyline because I feel like it's one of those plots you need to just experience for your self. I will say that it was fun seeing ART (aka Asshole Research Transport) again! I love the interactions between ART and Murderbot so much!

I loved this whole novel but I especially loved about it is there's these flashback scenes we get where we can see how Murderbot is adjusting to being on Preservation and how Dr. Mensah is handling everything from her kidnapping and escape from GrayCris. I loved seeing Mensah and Murderbot interactions and how Murderbot learns to deal with Mensah's whole family as well as the original Preservation team.

Murderbot is still awkward, anti-social, and overly attached to their drones but their world and associations just keep expanding and it is a delight to see the events and the effects of those events unfold. I love that they still just want to watch the entertainment feeds all the time but they still step up and help out! I honestly I can't wait to see what happens next in this series! This book just came out and I already need more Murderbot in my life! I need for it to be April 2021 already so I can get my hands on the next novella!

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelwiess

  5 / 5 Stars

Book #18-  Library #3- Read Any Book You Want

My reviews of other books in this series:
RTFB #62- The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

Monday, May 25, 2020

Mini Reviews: Fantastic Hope and Where the Lost Wander

Fantastic Hope
Edited by Laurell K. Hamilton and William McCaskey
Release: April 7, 2020
Goodreads Amazon
A collection of sixteen sci-fi and fantasy stories edited by #1 New York Times bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton and author William McCaskey.

A child’s wish for her father comes true. The end of the world has never been so much fun. Conquering personal demons becomes all too real. It’s not always about winning; sometimes it’s about showing up for the fight. It’s about loving your life’s work, and jobs that make you question everything.

In this anthology, seventeen authors have woven together brand-new stories that speak to the darkness and despair that life brings while reminding us that good deeds, humor, love, sacrifice, dedication, and following our joy can ignite a light that burns so bright the darkness cannot last.

Laurell K. Hamilton and William McCaskey are joined by Kevin J. Anderson, Griffin Barber, Patricia Briggs, Larry Correia, Kacey Ezell, Monalisa Foster, Robert E. Hampson, John G. Hartness, Jonathan Maberry, L. E. Modesitt, Jr., Jessica Schlenker, Sharon Shinn, M. C. Sumner, Patrick M. Tracy, and Michael Z. Williamson in this collection.

I quite enjoyed this anthology and its variety in the kinds of stories it contained. It was also an opportunity to read work from a lot of authors I've never read before. In fact, Laurell K. Hamilton, Patricia Briggs, and Jonathan Maberry were the only authors in this collection I've read before.

I'll be honest the whole reason I picked it up was because of the Patricia Briggs story, Asil and the Not-Date. It also ended up being my favorite story of the whole collection. I love reading about Asil and his not-dates! And just like the others, this one was so good and had a surprise twist at the end! I enjoy Asil's not-dates almost as much as he does.

My other favorites in this collection were Last Contact by M.C. Sumner, Not in This Lifetime by Sharon Shinn, Mr. Positive, the Eternal Optimist by Larry Correia, Bonds of Love and Duty by Monalisa Foster, and Working Conditions by Patrick M. Tracy. I loved all of these so much! They were all so different from each other!

The only story I didn't like was Fallen by L.E. Modesitt Jr. It was confusing and time jumpy and it didn't hold my attention at all. I was a little bit meh about the Anita Blake story but I'm not a fan of the series. The rest of the stories in the collection were fun and I enjoyed them a lot!

Overall, I'd recommend picking this anthology up based on the variety of the stories alone but there's also quite a bit of quality in this collection.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley

  4 / 5 Stars

Where the Lost Wander
Amy Harmon
Release: April 28, 2020

In this epic and haunting love story set on the Oregon Trail, a family and their unlikely protector find their way through peril, uncertainty, and loss.
The Overland Trail, 1853: Naomi May never expected to be widowed at twenty. Eager to leave her grief behind, she sets off with her family for a life out West. On the trail, she forms an instant connection with John Lowry, a half-Pawnee man straddling two worlds and a stranger in both.

But life in a wagon train is fraught with hardship, fear, and death. Even as John and Naomi are drawn to each other, the trials of the journey and their disparate pasts work to keep them apart. John’s heritage gains them safe passage through hostile territory only to come between them as they seek to build a life together.

When a horrific tragedy strikes, decimating Naomi’s family and separating her from John, the promises they made are all they have left. Ripped apart, they can’t turn back, they can’t go on, and they can’t let go. Both will have to make terrible sacrifices to find each other, save each other, and eventually…make peace with who they are.

I was so excited to get this book for review! I love a good Oregon Trail historical fiction! Even better if it has romance! I hadn't read an Amy Harmon book before but I've heard nothing but excellent things about her work.

For full transparency, I put this book aside around the 54% mark. I don't often write reviews like this but it is very much a "It's not you. It's me." situation when it comes to this book and my reading experience with it was very much not the book's fault. I've loved what I read of this book. My problem is that I tried to read it while under a stay-at-home order for Covid-19 and I couldn't enjoy the reading experience like I would have under different conditions. 

The research that went into this book was phenomenal and I felt like I was there because of the quality and excellence of Harmon's writing. The pacing of this book was just too slow moving for me and the challenges the characters faced were just too traumatic, heavy, and heartbreaking for my mindset during a global pandemic.

I bought myself the ebook of this book and I'm planning on picking it up again when I can handle the sadness and trauma in the story. So far the story rates a solid 3.5 stars but I'm sure that I'll rate it higher once I finish the book.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley

3.5 / 5 Stars

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Review: Storm of Fury by Bec McMaster


Storm of Fury
(Legends of the Storm #4)
Bec McMaster
Release: May 5, 2020
Goodreads Amazon
ARC provided by the author
The old eddas speak of dreki—fabled creatures who haunt the depths of Iceland's volcanoes and steal away fair maidens.

Bryn wants none of such myths. Accused of a crime she didn't commit, the former Valkyrie was exiled to the mortal realm over a century ago. Now a battle-hardened mercenary, when she's offered a glimpse of redemption—a written confession that will finally clear her name—nothing will stand in her way.

All she has to do is find Marduk, a missing dreki prince, and deliver him in chains to the dreki princess he once dishonoured.

And a trio of dragon-hunters is going to lead her right to him…

Find a missing dreki prince. It will be fun, they said. Fierce dragon-hunter Tormund Sigurdsson knows better. But the second he lays eyes on Bryn, he thinks the gods have finally smiled upon him. After watching his cousin find love with his fated mate, all Tormund wants is an epic love story of his own. The gorgeous, curvaceous redhead is every single one of his dreams woven into flesh—even if she's determined to keep him at arm's length.

There's just one little problem…

She's working for the enemy.


Though it took a bit to grow on me, I'm now thoroughly enjoying the Legends of the Storm series. Mostly because I'm loving these characters. Tormund is the fiercest of teddy bears whose confidence is charming rather than cocky. Bryn is the female version of the hero who thinks he's not worthy. Their attraction is instantaneous but the romance takes a while to develop. Just as satisfying is the bromance between Haakon and Tormund and surprisingly, Sirius, who is less prickly now that he's mated.

Like most of the earlier books in the series, Storm of Fury is a road trip story with Tormund, Haakon, Sirius and Bryn traveling through the countryside in pursuit of Marduk. But this is the first time that journey takes us to other dreki courts. We also encounter different kinds of supernaturals for the first time and I'm happy to see the mythology expanding.

Storm of Fury also seems to spend more time on the series plot than previous books with multiple additional POVs, mostly Sirius and Marduk. It sets up an enemies to lovers romance for Marduk in book five (Yay!) and what I think will be book six with a new character that's introduced here. I'm looking forward to finding out!


My reviews of other books in this series:
Heart of Fire and Storm of Desire
Clash of Storms

Romanceopoly: Journey's End - Fantasy with magic user MC

Monday, May 11, 2020

Review: A Bad Day For Sunshine by Darynda Jones

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A Bad Day for Sunshine
(Sunshine Vicram #1)
Darynda Jones
Release: April 7, 2020
Goodreads Amazon
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley
Sheriff Sunshine Vicram finds her cup o’ joe more than half full when the small village of Del Sol, New Mexico, becomes the center of national attention for a kidnapper on the loose.

Del Sol, New Mexico is known for three things: its fry-an-egg-on-the-cement summers, its strong cups of coffee—and a nationwide manhunt? Del Sol native Sunshine Vicram has returned to town as the elected sheriff--an election her adorably meddlesome parents entered her in--and she expects her biggest crime wave to involve an elderly flasher named Doug. But a teenage girl is missing, a kidnapper is on the loose, and all of it's reminding Sunny why she left Del Sol in the first place. Add to that trouble at her daughter’s new school and a kidnapped prized rooster named Puff Daddy, and Sunshine has her hands full.

Enter sexy almost-old-flame Levi Ravinder and a hunky US Marshall, both elevens on a scale of one to blazing inferno, and the normally savvy sheriff is quickly in over her head. Now it’s up to Sunshine to juggle a few good hunky men, a not-so-nice kidnapping miscreant, and Doug the ever-pesky flasher. And they said coming home would be drama-free.

Darynda Jones' Charley Davidson series is an old favorite. A Bad Day For Sunshine has a lot of similar qualities - a snarky, mystery solving heroine obsessed with coffee and southwestern food, charming secondary characters and a misunderstood anti-hero love interest. It also puts the main character through similarly horrific events.

One major difference is that this book gives Sunshine's teenaged daughter almost equal page time. Aurora has her own horrors and her own misunderstood anti-hero as she starts at her new high school. She also helps her mom solve her case since Aurora was friends with the missing girl. I liked Aurora's POV but it took me a little while to get used to.

I love the quirky small town shenanigans, like the old man chasing the rooster down Main Street, but I might have liked to have more of them. The story was kind of dark and heavy despite the snark. Admittedly, that might be due to the fact that I read it right after the first few books of the In Death series. That was a lot of cases that bring up the heroines' childhood trauma for one weekend!

I'm fascinated by Sunshine's world and excited to read more in the series. I'm pretty sure I have some stuff figured out that Sunshine doesn't know yet and can't wait to see if I'm right.


Romanceopoly: Spring - Green or Yellow on the cover

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

#Romanceopolyathon and April Reading Challenge Recap

We're doing our challenge recap a few days late in order to include our results for Romanceopolyathon, which ended on May 3. Here's how we did in the readathon as well as the rest of our reading challenges:


The readathon lasted one week and we had 7 prompts that we need to fulfill! Each of the books had to complete a board challenge can count for multiple prompts.

Romanceopolyathon Prompts:
1 – Cover has same color as the challenge square (if it’s a non-street or corner, pick black or white on the cover)⁠
2 – Recommended to you⁠
3 – Already on your bookshelf or TBR⁠
4 – Debut or new to you author or series⁠
5 – Longest title on your TBR⁠
6 – Animal(s) on the cover⁠
7 – Standalone⁠

You can see our original TBRs in this post.
Here's what we actually read:


I deviated from my TBR on the very first day and wound up only reading one of the books I originally planned on. But I still completed all the prompts and filled 6 more squares on my board.
Here's what I read for the readathon:

✔️Oath Sworn by KN Banet
Square: The Bar - Set in a place you’ve lived
Prompts: Debut or new to you author or series
✔️Family and Honor by KN Banet
Square: City Lane - UF published in last 5 years
Prompt: Cover same color as challenge square
✔️Broken Loyalty by KN Banet
Square: Library - Free Choice
Prompt: Animals on the cover
✔️If I Only Had a Duke by Lenora Bell
Square: The Cobbles - Historical with 5 or more words in title
Prompts: Longest title on TBR
✔️Blame It on the Duke by Lenora Bell
Square: Past Eaves - Historical Fiction
Prompt: Already on your TBR
✔️Tikka Chance on Me by Suleika Snyder
Square: Coffee Shop - Recommended to you/ Foodie words in title
Prompts: Recommended to you, Standalone

Rose Red

I deviated from my TBR a bit with my Outer Space book and I changed up which challenges I went for. I didn't complete all the books on my list but I am kind of proud that I mostly stuck to the TBR I set. I did complete all the prompts and filled 3 squares on my board. And I'm over halfway through a fourth book/challenge that I will hopefully finish soon.
Here's what I read for the readathon:

✔️His Bride for the Taking by Tessa Dare
Square: BFF's House- Read a Best Friends Sibling Romance
Prompts: Standalone, Animal on the Cover, Recommended to You

✔️Check, Please! Book 2: Sticks and Scones by Ngozi Ukazu
Square: Farmer's Market- Read a Romance Where the H/H Works in the Food Industry
Prompts: Longest Title on TBR, Already on Your Shelf/TBR
✔️Jailmates by Lesli Richardson
Square: Outer Space- Read a Sci-Fi Book with an Alien or Cyborg Character
Prompts: Cover the Same Color as the Challenge Square, Debut or New-To-You Author/Series


Before the readathon, I completed 2 more Romanceopoly squares.
✔️Killer Crescent - Thriller w/ Detective or PI MC
Something Blue by Emma Jameson
✔️Post Office - Romance that started online
Fake It Til You Make It by Anne Harper

Coming Up:
➖Lady Lane: Women’s Fiction
Betwixt by Darynda Jones
➖Sleuth Street - Mystery w/ “Death words” in the title
Naked in Death by JD Robb
➖The Gym: Longest Book on your TBR/ Bangin Body on cover
➖Beau Blvd - YA by new to you author
Rose Red
The only challenges I completed this month were the ones I read for the readathon. I stuck mostly with rereads this month because of the covid craziness.

✔️BFF's House- Read a Best Friends Sibling Romance
His Bride for the Taking by Tessa Dare

✔️Farmer's Market- Read a Romance Where the H/H Works in the Food Industry
Check, Please! Book 2: Sticks and Scones by Ngozi Ukazu
✔️Outer Space- Read a Sci-Fi Book with an Alien or Cyborg Character
Jailmates by Lesli Richardson

Coming Up:
➖Spring- Read a Book Where It: Has a green or yellow cover; Has flowers on the cover; Has the word ‘Spring’ in the title; Where the hero or heroine is a gardener or farmer; Or all of/any combination/any one of the above!
➖Post Office- Read an Epistolary Romance
I'm currently listening to This Is How You Lose the Time War by Max Gladstone and Amal El-Motar on audio for this challenge. I just haven't been commuting so I haven't been listening to my book.
➖Passion Place- Read an Erotic BDSM Romance
I started Docile by K.M. Szpara for the readathon and I'm going to finish it for this challenge.

I’m playing Beat the Backlist Bingo and filled 6 squares this month:

Social Media Made Me Read It: Erstwhile by HE Trent
Murder Mystery: Something Blue by Emma Jameson
Love Triangle: Wager by HE Trent
Author Shares Your Initials: Breaking the Billionaire’s Rules by Annika Martin
Black and White Cover: Moonlighter by Sarina Bowen
Good Book Bad Cover: Oath Sworn by KN Banet

Rose Red
I completed 3 squares on my Bingo Board this month.

Beat the Backlist Bingo
Book with Less Than 200 Pages- His Bride for the Taking by Tessa Dare
Written Before 2010- Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh
Book You Never Finished Before- Jailmates by Lesli Richardson

Non-Bingo Backlist Books
Wild Invitation by Nalini Singh 
Whisper of Sin by Nalini Singh
Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh
Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh
Mine to Possess by Nalini Singh
Hostage to Pleasure by Nalini Singh
Branded by Fire by Nalini Singh
Blaze of Memory by Nalini Singh
Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh
Play of Passion by Nalini Singh
Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh
Tangle of Need by Nalini Singh
Secrets at Midnight by Nalini Singh
Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh
Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh
Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh
Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh
Wild Embrace by Nalini Singh
Silver Silence by Nalini Singh
Ocean Light by Nalini Singh
Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh
Claimings, Tales and Other Alien Artifacts by Lyn Gala
Assimilation, Love, and Other Human Oddities by Lyn Gala
Affiliations, Aliens, and Other Profitable Pursuits by Lyn Gala
Expeditions, Estimates, and Other Dangerous Pastimes by Lyn Gala
The Mercenary's Mate by C.W. Gray

Library Love Challenge


I’ve read 16 library books so far this year on a goal of 36.
This month I read:
Breaking the Billionaire’s Rules by Annika Martin
Moonlighter by Sarina Bowen
If I Only Had a Duke by Lenora Bell
Blame It On the Duke by Lenora Bell

Tackle My TBR

Unfortunately, I didn't read any books for my Tackle My TBR Challenge this month with all of my rereads. I will try to catch up and do April's New-To-Me Author Prompt in May.

What did you all read this last month?


Monday, May 4, 2020

This Month's Most Anticipated: May 2020

A lot of things that were supposed to be released in May have been delayed until later in the summer, so this list will be a little smaller than normal. But here are our Most Anticipated May Releases:

Book Releases

Click on the covers to add them on Goodreads

May 3

 Defy or Defend (Delightfully Deadly #2) by Gail Carriger

May 5
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The Notorious Virtues by Alwyn Hamilton
Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Network Effect (The Murderbot Diaries #5) by Martha Wells
Stages of the Heart by Jo Goodman
The Life and Medieval Times of Kit Sweetly by Jamie Pacton
The Tourist Attraction (Moose Springs, Alaska #1) by Sarah Margenthaler

May 13
 Slippery Creatures (The Will Daring Adventures #1)

May 19
The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
May 19
49490932. sx318 sy475 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52867387-beach-read
Chaos Reigning (Consortium Rebellion #3) by Jessie Mihalik
Beach Read by Emily Henry

May 26
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Until the End (Final Hour #3) by Juno Rushdan
Wolf Under Fire (STAT #1) by Paige Tyler
Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner

TV and Movies

May 20
 Eliza Taylor in The 100 (2014)
The 100 Season 7

On The CW

Every Week
Some Good News
On YouTube

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