January Wrap Up

Is it just me or did January fly by?! But seriously though, I felt like I was running out of time to get anything read last month and I have some regrets. If I am 100% honest January was my month of cozy gaming, I restarted my Animal Crossing Island, Played Coral Island and Stardew Valley but honestly didn’t read as much as I would have liked.


Physical Book

“Legends and Lattes” By Travis Baldree

Rating: 5 out of 5.

After a lifetime of bounties and bloodshed, Viv is hanging up her sword for the last time.

The battle-weary orc aims to start fresh, opening the first ever coffee shop in the city of Thune. But old and new rivals stand in the way of success — not to mention the fact that no one has the faintest idea what coffee actually is.

If Viv wants to put the blade behind her and make her plans a reality, she won’t be able to go it alone.

But the true rewards of the uncharted path are the travelers you meet along the way. And whether drawn together by ancient magic, flaky pastry, or a freshly brewed cup, they may become partners, family, and something deeper than she ever could have dreamed.

Synopsis From GoodReads


Audio

“Babel” By R.F. Kuang

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal.

1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation—also known as Babel.

Babel is the world’s center for translation and, more importantly, magic. Silver working—the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation using enchanted silver bars—has made the British unparalleled in power, as its knowledge serves the Empire’s quest for colonization.

For Robin, Oxford is a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge obeys power, and as a Chinese boy raised in Britain, Robin realizes serving Babel means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress, Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to stopping imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide…

Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence?

Synopsis From GoodReads

“Comfort Me With Apples” By Catherynne M. Valente

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book was extremely short so I didn’t think making a full review was necessary so here are my thoughts.

I had seen this book on so many peoples wrap ups over the last year and It sounded so intriguing. I had just watched the movie Don’t Worry Darling and so this book really gave me those vibes to start which I loved! However I think because I listened to the audio book it didn’t let me get the full intense vibe that this book was trying to give off. I think I will be rereading this one soon just so I can understand it a bit more but overall I did enjoy this book.


Graphic Novel

“The Witch Boy” By Molly Ostertag

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I Never write full reviews for graphic novels so here are my quick thoughts.

This is a middle grade read so I really didn’t expect a lot but the art was absolutely gorgeous. The overall message about gender rolls was really cute and I do think it will be great for younger kids to pick this up and see that they can be anything they want and put their minds to.


Favorite Quotes

“The combined aromas of hot cinnamon, ground coffee, and sweet cardamom intoxicated her, and as she brewed and smiled and served and chatted, a deep contentment welled up. It was a glowing warmth she’d never experienced before, and she liked it. She liked it a great deal.”

Travis Baldree, Legends & Lattes

“… The price of what I meant to do Was higher when the day was through, And when I took a different road, I almost couldn’t feel the load …”

Travis Baldree, Legends & Lattes

“If we push in the right spots – then we’ve moved things to the breaking point. The the future becomes fluid, and change is possible. History isn’t a premed tapestry that we’ve got to suffer, a closed world with no exit. We can form it. Make it. We just have to choose to make it.”

R.F. Kuang, Babel

“A lie was not a lie if it was never uttered; questions that were never asked did not need answers. They would both remain perfectly content to linger in the liminal, endless space between truth and denial.”

R.F. Kuang, Babel

QOTD: Favorite read so far in 2023?

Book Review: “Legends and Lattes” By Travis Baldree

As someone who is not a fantasy reader I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I had seen only good reviews for this book and also heard that it was a cozy low stakes read which sounded right up my alley and they were not wrong! If you are looking for a cute, cozy read that will make you hungry then please pick this book up!

“After twenty-two years of adventuring, Viv had reached her limit of blood and mud and bullshit. An orc’s life was strength and violence and a sudden, sharp end—but she’d be damned if she’d let hers finish that way. It was time for something new.”

Travis Baldree, Legends & Lattes

About The Book

Author: Travis Baldree

Publisher: TOR Books

Published Date: February 22, 2022

Page Count: 296 Pages

Main Genres: Fantasy, Romance, LGBTQ+

GoodReads Rating: 4.36

Format: Physical Book

“… The price of what I meant to do Was higher when the day was through, And when I took a different road, I almost couldn’t feel the load …”

Travis Baldree, Legends & Lattes

Synopsis

After a lifetime of bounties and bloodshed, Viv is hanging up her sword for the last time.

The battle-weary orc aims to start fresh, opening the first ever coffee shop in the city of Thune. But old and new rivals stand in the way of success — not to mention the fact that no one has the faintest idea what coffee actually is.

If Viv wants to put the blade behind her and make her plans a reality, she won’t be able to go it alone.

But the true rewards of the uncharted path are the travelers you meet along the way. And whether drawn together by ancient magic, flaky pastry, or a freshly brewed cup, they may become partners, family, and something deeper than she ever could have dreamed.

Synopsis From GoodReads

“Things don’t have to stay as what they started out as.”

Travis Baldree, Legends & Lattes

Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Review

I believe that this book has started an obsession with finding cozy low stake fantasy books. I need more books that the world is easy to understand, you fall in love with each and every character, and you just want everyone to succeed.

My favorite part about this book was all the small details that were written into the story such as, the making of the menu board, the recipes that thimble puts together and last but not least the romantic tension between the two main characters.

I was constantly hungry while reading this book and I am so glad I ended up at a coffee shop for my own iced latte.

This book was a fairly short read and I think that was the worst part! I was not ready for their story to end, so much so that I would only read a chapter a day so that I could savor every moment. Don’t get me wrong, I could have sped through and read this in one day but that might have broke my heart.

If you haven’t yet, please do yourself a favor and pick this fantastical read up, especially while it is still cold and possibly snowy out. I promise you will not regret it!

“The combined aromas of hot cinnamon, ground coffee, and sweet cardamom intoxicated her, and as she brewed and smiled and served and chatted, a deep contentment welled up. It was a glowing warmth she’d never experienced before, and she liked it. She liked it a great deal.”

Travis Baldree, Legends & Lattes

QOTD: What are some other cozy low stake fantasy reads?

Book Review: “Babel” By R.F. Kuang

2023 is starting off a lot slower than I would have hoped. This will be only the second book I have read so far and January is practically over! I have two other books that I am currently reading and I really hope to finish them over the next few days, my fingers are crossed.

“If we push in the right spots – then we’ve moved things to the breaking point. The the future becomes fluid, and change is possible. History isn’t a premed tapestry that we’ve got to suffer, a closed world with no exit. We can form it. Make it. We just have to choose to make it.”

 R.F. Kuang, Babel

About The Book

Author: R.F. Kuang

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Published Date: August 23, 2022

Page Count: 545 Pages

Main Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Fantasy

GoodReads Rating: 4.35

Format: Audio

“She learned revolution is, in fact, always unimaginable. It shatters the world you know. The future is unwritten, brimming with potential. The colonizers have no idea what is coming, and that makes them panic. It terrifies them.

 R.F. Kuang, Babel

Synopsis

Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal.

1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation—also known as Babel.

Babel is the world’s center for translation and, more importantly, magic. Silver working—the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation using enchanted silver bars—has made the British unparalleled in power, as its knowledge serves the Empire’s quest for colonization.

For Robin, Oxford is a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge obeys power, and as a Chinese boy raised in Britain, Robin realizes serving Babel means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress, Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to stopping imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide…

Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence?

Synopsis From GoodReads

“A lie was not a lie if it was never uttered; questions that were never asked did not need answers. They would both remain perfectly content to linger in the liminal, endless space between truth and denial.”

 R.F. Kuang, Babel

Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

“No one’s focused on how we’re all connected. We only think about how we suffer, individually. The poor and middle-class of this country don’t realize they have more in common with us than they do with Westminster.”

 R.F. Kuang, Babel

Review

This is a book that made it on almost everyone’s 2022 top 10 lists so I knew I needed to pick it up and see what all they hype was about. Honestly, I really struggled at first because I felt almost to dumb to be reading it. But the mor ethe story progressed the more I fell in love with it.

I would have died for the majority of these characters! The relationships built throughout the book really tugged at your heart and made you want what was best for the characters and their relationships. I feel like in most books where you have a fairly large cast of characters it can be hard to grow any kind of connection to the majority of them but with this book that just wasn’t the case. Their relationships with each other were a very important part of the book and if the character building wasn’t done well then the book would have fallen flat.

This book talks about some really important topics, the biggest two to me were race and social classism. These are things that our world was built around and this book really dives deep into how we as a world need to come together and make some much needed changes as these are two huge issues in todays society.

Something that really stuck out to me is that even if the world is unwilling to change YOU are capable of changing and making your own small impact to make this world a better place.

With all of that said I would highly recommend this book especially on audio. The audio book was amazing because a second voice would read the footnotes to you as they were happening and even help with pronunciations. I hope this makes you want to give this book a chance because it will change your outlook on the world.

“That’s just what translation is, I think. That’s all speaking is. Listening to the other and trying to see past your own biases to glimpse what they’re trying to say. Showing yourself to the world, and hoping someone else understands.”

 R.F. Kuang, Babel

QOTD: What are some good books about Race, Classism and Feminism?

“Be selfish,” he whispered. “Be brave.”

 R.F. Kuang, Babel

2022 Book Superlatives

Wow! 2022 was such a great year for reading for me! I read 62 books and found a few of my all time favorite books. I even started to DNF books that didn’t bring me joy which was a huge win for this year! Lets dive in and see all the best and worst books I read last year.


Top Ten Books

In no particular order here are my top ten books of the year!


Awards

Book Of The Year

“Caraval” By Stephanie Garber

This book caught me by surprise! This was one of the last books I finished this year and I was obsessed! I typically don’t read fantasy but this one was a great way to get me excited to read more.

Least Favorite Book

“Leave The World Behind” By Rumaan Alam

I really wished I would have DNF’d this book. Honestly, this was one huge waste of time and I do not recommend it!

I don’t have a link for this review because I listened to it on audio and really didn’t have anything worth while to say about it.

Best Dressed (Prettiest Cover)

“Under The Whispering Door” By TJ Klune

I love this cover because it really shows the magical capabilities that this book will offer you while you read it. The weird shaped house really shouldn’t be able to exist yet it does. I just love the colors as well.

Most Likely To Make You Swoon

“Things We Never Got Over” By Lucy Score

I would say this is one of the most rememberable romance book I read this year with some of the best steamy scenes as well. I just overall loved this book and the beautifully written characters.

Most Likely To Be Reread

“A Man Called Ove” By Fredrik Backman

I had sworn off this author after reading “Anxious People” Last year but I picked this one up on audio and my heart broke! This was such a sad book but I can see myself rereading it just to have those feelings again.

Best Graphic Novel

“Heartstopper” By Alice Oseman

This Graphic Novel Series took the world by storm and much like everyone else, I fell madly in love with them! I highly recommend these books and even the TV show on Netflix.

A Book That Was Over Hyped

“Daisy Jones and The Six” By Taylor Jenkins Reid

I had heard some amazing things about this book but honestly I didn’t understand the hype. It was hard to really care for the characters with the way this book was writen.

A Book That Surprised Me

“House Of Earth And Blood” By Sarah L. Maas

This was a huge book and also the first fantasy book that I really dove into. I read this book super quick and fell in love with the characters. However, it did also put me in a book slump and made me scared to read big books.

A Book That Got Me Out Of A Reading Slump

“Every Heart A Doorway” By Seanan McGuire

This was a super fun and quick read. Sometimes all you need is to just finish a book to get out of a slump so anything small is a great option! This was so magical and fun that I think anyone can get into it.

A Book That Put Me Into A Reading Slump

“The Ex Talk” By Rachel Lynn Solomon

I honestly had high hopes for this book and it let me down. This book was the one that helped me to learn that I am not a fan of enemy to lovers. The book moved very slowly and just left me feeling meh.

A Book I Wish I Had Read

“The Thursday Murder Club” By Richard Osman

This book sounds like everything I would want from a book. I am a sucker for a good mystery and I think this would hit the spot!

A Book I Would Like To Read In 2023

“Babel” By R.F. Kuang

This book has been talked about by literally everyone on Bookstagram and I am so jealous of everyone who has read it. This is very high on my TBR and I can’t wait to dive into it!


2022 has been my best reading year ever and I really hope I can keep this momentum going into 2023. I have many reading challenges I would like to get to this coming year in hopes to be able to finish not only more books but a wider range of genres this year. I can’t wait to see what this coming year has in store for me and my blog.

QOTD: What is a book you are excited to read this year?

December Wrap Up

Wow, this month was extremely busy! You forget how many obligations the holiday season comes with. I had several books I wanted to get to before the end of the year that I wasn’t able to get too but December did provide me with my favorite read of 2022!


Audio Books

“Lovelight Farms” by B.K. Borison

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

A pasture of dead trees. A hostile takeover of the Santa barn by a family of raccoons. And shipments that have mysteriously gone missing. Lovelight Farms is not the magical winter wonderland of Stella Bloom’s dreams.

In an effort to save the Christmas tree farm she’s loved since she was a kid, she enters a contest with instafamous influencer Evelyn St. James. With the added publicity and the $100,000 cash prize, she might just be able to save the farm from its financial woes. There’s just one problem. To make the farm seem like a romantic destination for the holidays, she lied on the application and said she owns Lovelight Farms with her boyfriend. Only … there is no boyfriend.

Enter best friend Luka Peters. He just came home for some hot chocolate, and somehow got a farm and a serious girlfriend in the process.

Synopsis From GoodReads

“A Merry Little Meet Cute” By Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Bee Hobbes (aka Bianca Von Honey) has a successful career as a plus-size adult film star. With a huge following and two supportive moms, Bee couldn’t ask for more. But when Bee’s favorite producer casts her to star in a Christmas movie he’s making for the squeaky-clean Hope Channel, Bee’s career is about to take a more family-friendly direction.

Forced to keep her work as Bianca under wraps, Bee quickly learns this is a task a lot easier said than done. Though it all becomes worthwhile when she discovers her co-star is none other than childhood crush Nolan Shaw, an ex-boy band member in desperate need of career rehab. Nolan’s promised his bulldog manager to keep it zipped up on set, and he will if it means he’ll be able to provide a more stable living situation for his sister and mom.

But things heat up quickly in Christmas Notch, Vermont, when Nolan recognizes his new co-star from her ClosedDoors account (oh yeah, he’s a member). Now Bee and Nolan are sneaking off for quickies on set, keeping their new relationship a secret from the Hope Channel’s execs. Things only get trickier when the reporter who torpedoed Nolan’s singing career comes snooping around—and takes an instant interest in mysterious newcomer Bee.

And if Bee and Nolan can’t keep their off-camera romance behind the scenes, then this merry little meet cute might end up on the cutting room floor.

Synopsis From GoodReads


E-Book

“Caraval” By Stephanie Garber

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Synopsis From GoodReads


Graphic Novel

“How To Be Ace” By Rebecca Burgess

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I didn’t write a full review for this book for my blog but I did write one on my Instagram that you can check out if you would like more info.

I do think everyone should pick up this quick book just so you can be a little more informed about what it is like to be Asexual and the difficulties people who identify as “Ace” have to go through.


Favorite Quotes

“I like you so much that it scares me. And when I think about leaving and never seeing you again, it makes me feel like something’s being yanked out of me. Something important, something that I need to breathe and eat and live. I want more than memories with you, Bee. I want moments upon moments.”

A Merry Little Meet Cute

“And isn’t it silly, to love the way someone’s things look like next to yours? Little bits and pieces of a life lived in parallel.”

B.K. Borison, Lovelight Farms

“She imagined loving him would feel like falling in love with darkness, frightening and consuming yet utterly beautiful when the stars came out.”

Stephanie Garber, Caraval

QOTD: What was your favorite read from this month?

Book Review: “A Merry Little Meet Cute” By Julie Murphy & Sierra Simone

This will be my second Christmas book this season and I was not disappointed! I will go ahead and warn you now that if you want to enjoy this book make sure you know the synopsis and are comfortable with the topics discussed, Going into this book blind probably hindered my overall rating.

 “I love you too, Nolan. I love you in the dark. I love you in the light. I love you everywhere.”

A Merry Little Meet Cute

About The Book

Author: Julie Murphy & Sierra Simone

Publisher: Avon

Published Date: September 20th, 2022

Page Count: 418

Main Genres: Romance, Holiday, Contemporary

GoodReads Rating: 3.51

Format: Audio


Synopsis

Bee Hobbes (aka Bianca Von Honey) has a successful career as a plus-size adult film star. With a huge following and two supportive moms, Bee couldn’t ask for more. But when Bee’s favorite producer casts her to star in a Christmas movie he’s making for the squeaky-clean Hope Channel, Bee’s career is about to take a more family-friendly direction.

Forced to keep her work as Bianca under wraps, Bee quickly learns this is a task a lot easier said than done. Though it all becomes worthwhile when she discovers her co-star is none other than childhood crush Nolan Shaw, an ex-boy band member in desperate need of career rehab. Nolan’s promised his bulldog manager to keep it zipped up on set, and he will if it means he’ll be able to provide a more stable living situation for his sister and mom.

But things heat up quickly in Christmas Notch, Vermont, when Nolan recognizes his new co-star from her ClosedDoors account (oh yeah, he’s a member). Now Bee and Nolan are sneaking off for quickies on set, keeping their new relationship a secret from the Hope Channel’s execs. Things only get trickier when the reporter who torpedoed Nolan’s singing career comes snooping around—and takes an instant interest in mysterious newcomer Bee.

And if Bee and Nolan can’t keep their off-camera romance behind the scenes, then this merry little meet cute might end up on the cutting room floor.

Synopsis From GoodReads


Rating

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Review

I read this book as a buddy read that was actually supposed to end a week from now but I sped through the audio book! Now, typically I am not a huge Spicy book reader so going in blind for this book and learning it is a mixture of porn and a hallmark movie really throw me for a loop, but needless to say it ended up being a lot better than the first few chapters led me to believe.

By all means, this book wasn’t amazing, but I feel like it ended really strong! It took me probably more than half the book to really care about the characters and their relationship but when things started to go wrong and you learned more about their pasts and current situations I started to get into it more. This book was straight up lust rather than love which isn’t my favorite trope but when everything came together at the end I could officially back their relationship. I also really loved the awareness this book brought to sex workers and how they are people and not just an object and how their lives are just as important.

The last thing I want to bring up and maybe the most important thing to me was the representation of a “Fat” character. I personally don’t see bigger main characters, especially girls, represented in books and I loved how much she loved herself and owned her body! You go Girl!

“I like you so much that it scares me. And when I think about leaving and never seeing you again, it makes me feel like something’s being yanked out of me. Something important, something that I need to breathe and eat and live. I want more than memories with you, Bee. I want moments upon moments.”

 A Merry Little Meet Cute

QOTD: Big Girl Rep Books?