February Hopefuls

February is the month of love and typically I would have all romance reads on my hopefuls list but this year I just have a desire to read a mix of things. One of these days I will actually read all of the hopefuls on my list in the month I pick them. Some of these books I am listing have been on my hopefuls list several times or even back to back which is so sad! But I have high hopes for this month!


QOTD: What book are you excited to read this month?

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: “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?

Book Review: “Caraval” By Stephanie Garber

I am really bad at reading fantasy books and so I am trying to find some that intrigue me that I can start reading. Yes, this means I am taking recommendations for books that give off the same vibes as this one. I only picked this one up because I saw it on Scribd and I needed something new to read at night so I assumed I would be reading this for quite some time but to my surprise I devoured this book!

“Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.”

Stephanie Garber, Caraval

About The Book

Author: Stephanie Garber

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Published Date: January 31st, 2017

Page Count: 407 Pages

Main Genres: Fantasy, YA, Romance

GoodReads Rating: 4.00

Format: Ebook

“Some things are worth pursuit regardless of the cost.”“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find yourself magic in this world.”

Stephanie Garber, Caraval

Synopsis

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

“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

Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Review

This book will definitely be making it in my top ten books of this year! I was so blown away by the first chapter that it was hard to put down.

I really cared about the characters in this book. I feel like everyone had such a tragic backstory that kept you wanting to learn more. I really loved Scarlett, our main character, she was determined to make a better life for her and her sister Tella, so determined that she would do anything to make it happen. She really proves herself throughout the entire book and you can tell she truly loves her sister. I also think her character development was fantastic!

I had my suspicions about how the book was going to end within the first few chapters and boy was I wrong! This book really kept me on my toes and had many twists and turns that kept me glued to the pages! I have already ordered the rest of the series and I can’t wait to start reading them.

“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find yourself magic in this world.”

Stephanie Garber, Caraval

QOTD: Waat is a beginner friendly fantasy series?

Book Review: “Lovelight Farms” By B.K. Borison

My first book that I finished this month feels very fitting as we have gotten quite a bit of snow so the mood just felt right. This is a book I have been dying to get my hands on for months and I am glad I saved it till now. I really am hoping to read more Christmas / Holiday books before the end of the year, so fingers crossed.

“I’m going to love her in all the quiet ways, the slow ways, the loud and obnoxious ways.”

B.K. Borison, Lovelight Farms

About The Book

Author: B.K. Borison

Publisher: Self Published

Published Date: November 10th, 2021

Page Count: 401 Pages

Main Genres: Romance, Holiday, Contemporary

GoodReads Rating: 4.17

Format: Audio

“We should remember those who have left us with fondness. Speaking of them keeps their memory alive.”

B.K. Borison, Lovelight Farms

Synopsis

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

“Leaning on other people doesn’t make your achievements any less yours, La La. You can trust me to help you carry the load. You don’t have to do all of this alone. I know you can take of yourself. You’ve been doing that as long as I’ve known you. But let me hold your hand while you do it, okay?”

B.K. Borison, Lovelight Farms

Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

“It’s hard to love someone without restraint. To give yourself over to the swell and pull of it without fear of what might happen. I think it’s only natural to hold a part of yourself back and protect what you can.”

B.K. Borison, Lovelight Farms

Review

I feel like I have seen this book being reviewed left and right on bookstagram lately due to the holiday season and I am so glad I decided to read it too. Honestly I have not seen any bad reviews for this book and I now know why.

I am a huge friends to lovers fan and this book didn’t hold back! This could be a possible spoiler but I could have lived without the small tiff at the end, it really wasn’t needed and it was just one big misunderstanding. I just wanted them to be continuously happy. However, would it really be a romance book without some misunderstanding right at the end?

I would also call this book a bit of a found family story. The farm she built with her new friends turned out to be wonderful and even though they go through some bumps in the road her friends back her up and offer their support. This was probably my favorite part of the book. There’s just something about found family that pulls at my heart strings.

I am so excited to read the rest of B.K. Borison’s books, if they are anything like this one I know I will be obsessed! I highly recommend picking this one up for a last minute holiday read.

“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

QOTD: What Holiday books have you read and loved?