Halloween Smutathon Wrap Up

The last week of October was the Halloween Smutathon and I read five books and I’m currently in the middle of a fifth book. I had a lot of fun with this readathon and I wish I could have devoted more time to it but I was still trying to read some other books from the other readathon’s I participated in.

Rating: 5/5

Tillie Cole is the queen of dark romance and I have never read a book by her that I wasn’t instantly in love with. Hands down my favorite romance author and top three favorite author ever. This is a prequel to a dark romance series involving the Church and the horrible abuse boys are put through that are considered evil at a home for orphans. Since this is a dark romance there are a ton of trigger warnings so please be aware of that. I need to read the first book in this series asap.

Rating: both 4/5

These are both very short novellas (about 40 pages) and are just what the title suggests. And yet, despite the low page count, Harley Laroux does an incredible job of giving the couples in this story a physical and emotional connection. There is no insta love but it is about two people who agree to do some dirty, sexy things to each other. Both books come with trigger and content warnings which I recommend you read since these books are basically all BDSM smut. However, the nature of the things that they do together requires a lot of trust which helps form that bond between them.

WARNING: This review contains a spoiler.

Rating: 1/5

I really need to stop giving Alexa Riley a chance. I do not ever seem to enjoy their books. This is a quick little novella involving a teacher and her students uncle that takes place the day before Halloween and the day of Halloween. First off, this book could literally take place any day of the year since the only Halloween content we got was a couple of mentions of the characters costumes and as soon as our hero walked into the Halloween party he left with our heroine. I am someone that needs to have an emotional connection between the characters to find the smut enjoyable and I just didn’t get that at all. Which I wasn’t expecting going into this book but the level of disgust I felt for our hero was off the charts. He is basically a stalker who came off as manipulative and creepy. And the freaking epilogue where he tells his wife, who just had twins two or three months ago, that she is pregnant and she just shrugs and says ok since he told her last time too. WTF???? I understand why people enjoy Alexa Riley because they write books that are just a good time but for me they are not and I need to remember that in the future.

Rating: 2/5

This is another book that is just smut with no emotional connection. Which lots of people enjoy, so if that is you then that’s awesome. It’s just not what I prefer to read. And the main character, Tyler, makes no sense. I was never sure why he was a priest and he certainly didn’t seem to care about it despite the author telling us many times he did. And the heroine, whose name I don’t remember, was a flat one dimensional character who was not very likable. She would say she didn’t want him to choose between her and his priesthood but then she would flat out seduce him and it was confusing. I love a good forbidden romance but this wasn’t it. Especially since it didn’t seem that forbidden since Tyler didn’t really care about his job that much. Tyler would list of all the parts of his job he enjoyed and he could have done all the same things volunteering so the stakes weren’t actually that high. I could go on but I don’t want to keep bashing a book that I know a lot of people enjoy. I will say that I was surprised that this entire story is from Tyler’s perspective. I might have enjoyed our heroine more if I had gotten to know her side but I also found it refreshing to read a story completely from a male perspective. There are a few trigger warnings for this including suicide and sexual abuse so please be aware.

Currently reading

I am loving this so much more than I thought I would. It is laugh out loud funny and I am swooning over the enemies to lover aspect. Which is why I am reading this so slow because I want to draw out this delicious relationship as long as possible. I really hope the second half of this book doesn’t disappoint!

~Cassie

Vampathon Wrap Up

Last month the bulk of my TBR was my Vampathon choices. Technically Vampathon was supposed to only be the last week of the month but I really liked all of the prompts so I decided to just make it a month long readathon for myself. However, I totally failed at this readathon and only read 4 of the 16 books on my list. I did have an extra book that I threw on at the bottom of the list which was for a blog tour that I ended up DNF’ing. Which is a bummer since I was so excited to read all of them. I had also planned on reading the entire A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder series and I didn’t even start it. Also, I did start The Lost Village at the very end of the month but since I have rolled it over to my November TBR I will include it in that wrap up instead.

I read all these books for blog tours. Because I was struggling so bad with my reading I never actually finished them in time but I have since completed all of them. I’m trying to catch up on blog posts but all these reviews will be out shortly. My review for The Keeper of the Night is almost done so that will be coming later this week or early next week. I have family coming to stay for the rest of this week so I’m not too sure how much more blogging I will be able to get done this week.

Rating: 3/5

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Serpent & Dove, but this one was just lacking. I found the main characters to make irritating and nonsensical choices. I did enjoy the ending and I like how the author set up the next book so I will be completing this series at some point in the future.

I DNF’d this book at 25%. Here is my blog tour post where I also share my reasons for putting it down.

~Cassie

Victober Wrap Up

October is always the month long Victorian literature readathon. I wasn’t as successful this year but everything that I’ve read (or am still reading) I am absolutely loving.

Read

Rating: 5/5

This was a wonderfully written slice of life story written by one of the impeccable Bronte sisters. I don’t think I have ever read a book I didn’t absolutely adore from them. I went into this book knowing that it was the story of a governess in the 1800’s and I was happily surprised that it also has the sweetest romance. One of the reasons that I love classics so much is that they show such a clear view of what life was like when they were written and it always amazes me how similar human nature still is.

Currently reading

I think I’m on page 130 of this book that’s just over 500 pages. For some reason I always thought I wouldn’t like this book since all I ever really heard about was it deals with industrialization. However, this book is really about the main character, Margaret Hale, and her life. Due to circumstances out of her control she has to leave her bustling social life at her aunt’s house to move back with her mother and father. Then she quickly has to leave her home with her family and move to the city of Milton with all its factories and consequences of factory life. So far I’m really enjoying myself and Margaret Hale is a fantastic main character.

This is a collection of short stories and it was a readalong with the Victober Goodreads group. When I got my second Covid dose and my flu shot at the beginning of October I didn’t read anything for days and I lost my reading mojo. So I never was able to catch up with this readalong. I have just started the Lois the Witch story which is based off the Salem witch trials. I love how creepy and atmospheric this collection of stories are. Although, it does have that problem, that a lot of classics suffer from, where it will tell a really good detailed story and the ending is so abrupt that it leaves you a little stunned it’s over. This is the perfect October read though and I’m bummed I have to carry it over into November. I know some people like to continue the spooky season but November is when I start transitioning to the Christmas/Holiday romances. I am toying with the idea of just stopping where I’m at and then next October picking this book back up and restarting the story that I’m currently on.

I didn’t get to the other two Victorian literature books I wanted to read this month but I would love to pick them up early next year because both are ones that I really want to read.

~Cassie

July Wrap Up

Last month I managed to actual complete my TBR for maybe the first time ever. I don’t remember ever finishing one before so I’m just going to roll with it. July was also the month that I figured out that I enjoy listening to books while working on my knitting or cross stitch projects so I expect to utilize that a lot more in the future. So, hopefully, I can complete more TBR’s in the future. For this wrap up I’m going to start with all the books that I read for the Pop Culture Readathon and then I will share the extra books I read at the end. Each book I will be giving a few sentence review/my thoughts on it. I did have a few DNF’s this month which probably aided in my completing everything but I just couldn’t get into them for various reasons.

*If you want synopsis for any of the books I’m talking about then click on the cover and it will take you to Goodreads.

Pop Culture Readathon

Prompt: Ginger Snaps

Rating: 5/5

I listened to this book on Audible and I really enjoyed it. The world is so unique and fun. There are tons of supernatural creatures in this world that all interact with each other against an intriguing backdrop of magic and technology. Kate Daniels was a great heroine and I look forward to finding our more about her in future books. I did see a review on Goodreads where they said the author even admits this book isn’t that great which was surprising to me and has me really looking forward to how amazing the other books in the series are.

Prompt: Zodiac

Rating: 5/5

I’ll be honest that I probably boosted this up to a five stars just because it’s Riley Sager. It did have a few surprises in it but it is really only a book I would recommend to true lovers of the suspense thriller genre. My favorite thing about this book is that it is set in the 90’s and evokes a lot of my favorite horror movies atmosphere. Basically if you love 90’s horror movies then you might really enjoy this book.

Prompt: Cabin Fever

Rating: 2.5/5

I picked this book up on a whim at Target and unfortunately a lot of it fell flat. This book had the potential but the author used a lot of shortcuts for our hero, Luke, to obtain information. I really feel like if things were set up in a more believable way that it would have been a more satisfying mystery. This book is fun if you enjoy YA mysteries and you are able to suspend your disbelief at many of the situations and characters.

Prompt: Donnie Darko

Rating: 4/5

This was a fun slasher book. It is pretty gory so be aware of that. This is also reminded me a lot of a movie I enjoy (which I’m not naming because that would be major spoilers). If you are a horror movie fan than this would be a great book to pick up during the upcoming spooky season.

Prompt: Jennifer’s Body

Rating: 4/5

I had originally put the sequel to this book on my TBR because I didn’t realize that it was a direct sequel to The Golden Cage. This is a very twisted Nordic thriller that has tons of twists and turns. Like most Nordic thrillers it can be very graphic and gruesome but I thought I would mention it in case you are interested in reading this one.

Prompt: Cursed

Rating: DNF

I almost made it halfway through this book and I was managing with one case of insta love but then there became another insta love relationship and I couldn’t handle it. There also wasn’t that much world building and nothing to really keep my interest.

Prompt: Paranormal Activity

Rating: 5/5

My favorite book of the month is easily The Little Stranger. Everything about this book is mesmerizing and I would love to just sink back into this book again and again. Sarah Waters is an extraordinarily talented writer and the story she crafted is magnificent. This book is probably in my list of top ten favorite books of all time. If you love classics and want something a little spooky to read this upcoming Fall season then I definitely think this would be a a wonderful choice.

Prompt: Eight Legged Freaks

Rating: DNF

I’m just going to copy and paste my Goodreads review since that sums it up pretty well. The writing makes this book impossible to get into. It is very juvenile and reminds me a lot of the short chapter books I read with my 9 year old. Also everything is over explained which becomes annoying quickly.

Prompt: The Ring

Rating: 4/5

If you are a fan of Agatha Christie then you should consider reading this short story collection. I enjoyed all of them, of course, some more than others but all of them are unmistakably Christie. It was fun reading more from her brilliant mind. The Spanish Chest was probably my favorite story because it feature Hercules Poirot and a clever little mystery.

Prompt: “Twinkies”

Rating: 4/5

This was a great start to a cozy mystery series. The beginning felt a little clunky to me but it settled down and really hit its stride about a third in. I saw a few other people mention it and I noticed it too while reading, that the diabetes rep in this book is pretty awful. It is pretty clear that the author didn’t know much about it and just used it as a plot device. On the flip side of that though, this is the first book I have read that recognized my food allergy (coconut) so that was pretty special. The food in this book all sounds so delicious and like a typical cozy story there are recipes included and I plan on making some of them.

Prompt: Men in Black II

Rating: 5/5

Lars Kepler is easily one of my favorite authors. They are a husband and wife duo and they are both immensely talented. Nordic thrillers are my favorite sub genre of mysteries and Kepler does it best. This is my third Kepler novel and all of them start off going one way and I can never anticipate all the twists and turns that are going to occur.

Prompt: Skeleton Key

Rating: DNF

I read two chapters of this book but there was something about the writing that rubbed me the wrong way. This was a Netgalley ARC and it comes out next month. Don’t let my thoughts on it hold you back though because currently Summer Sons has a 4.47 rating on Goodreads.

Other

Rating: 5/5

Review: https://bookswithcassie.com/2021/07/16/blog-tour-lady-sunshine-by-amy-mason-doan/

Rating: 4/5

This is the first Icelandic thriller that I have ever read and I am eager to read more by Sigurdardottir. This mystery has Da Vinci Code vibes and I enjoyed the bits of Icelandic and Germany history that we got to know. The biggest downside to this book is that I didn’t like how most characters had an antiquated idea of a lot of things but mostly women. I don’t know if it’s because it was published in 2005 or if it’s because the author is Icelandic but it didn’t add much of anything to the story so it would have been better without it.

~Cassie

April Wrap Up

April was an interesting month because if you look how I did completing my TBR’s then it was fail. However, if you look at the amount of pages read it was a huge success. I read a lot of tomes last month so while I read half the books I did in March I still ended up reading more.

Books Read: 11

Pages Read: 4,539

Books Read from my April TBR: 5/13 (I’m currently reading another but I have put it down temporarily to concentrate on my May TBR)

Books Read from Amish in April TBR: 0 (Although I tried to read one but ended up DNF’ing it)

Books DNF’d: 3

Best Book

Worst Book

I gave this 2.5 stars but I have high hopes for the rest of the series.

All books read

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

Tell No Lies by Allison Brennan

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

These are books 3 and 4 in T.M. Frazier’s King series. I plan on doing a full review of the entire series once I work my way through them. I gave Lawless four stars and Soulless 3 stars. There are 9 books in the series plus a few novellas so I still have quite a few to read.

His & Hers by Alice Feeney

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Dewey’s 24 hr readathon wrap up

I gave this 2.5 stars mostly because I found it boring and I didn’t think there was any chemistry with the love interest and potential love interest. I’m hoping as the series progresses I will enjoy them more.

~Cassie

Dewey’s 24 hr Readathon Wrap Up

This will be a short post because unfortunately I wasn’t feeling well last Saturday and ended up taking four naps! I also didn’t stay up to read more so I didn’t have a lot of reading time but I still managed to read two books and start one so I’m still considering it a success.

Pages Read: 577

Books Read: 2

And Then There Were None was a reread for me but I actually ended up rating it higher this time around. I gave it four stars the first time and five stars this time around. The only thing I can think of is that reading it all in one sitting made for a better reading experience. And Then They Were None is the classic locked room mystery where everyone that is stranded on an island is murdered which makes the list of suspects grow smaller and smaller over time. The movie Clue must have been heavily inspired by this book because a lot of scenes and dialogue were in this book.

If you don’t like horror then you will not enjoy The Only Good Indians especially since it contains a lot of descriptive animal horror. I don’t know what to say about this book without giving anything away but it is a very well done story. I really enjoyed the slower pace Jones had at the beginning and then he starts to ramp it up until the ending that had me on the edge of my seat. So many moments in this book took me by surprise and I actually gasped out loud more than a few times. This is a brilliant work of fiction and the added horror elements made this book one that I won’t easily forget.

I also started His & Hers by Alice Feeney but that book will get its on review next week since it is a Netgalley ARC that I am way behind on reviewing.

~Cassie

Quarterly Wrap Up

I can’t believe we are already halfway through the month of April. It completely escaped me that I needed to put this post together but better late then never! The first two months of the year were relatively slow for me and as I have said many times, March was a much better month for me. I used to track a lot of stats but I stopped toward the end of last year. I really need to start using Storygraph since they automatically track all the stats but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. For today I will be sharing some basic stats but hopefully when July rolls around I will have some more interesting ones.

January Books Read: 9

February Books Read: 5

March Books Read: 22

Total Read: 36

Total DNF: 3 (I’ve had one a month which isn’t great. So far this month I have had none!)

January Wrap Up

February Wrap Up

March Wrap Up

Favorite Book Read

I couldn’t choose between them. Both are five star reads that will stick with me for a long time.

Authors

Female: 27

Male: 8

Mixed: 1

Format

Ebook: 26

Audiobook: 1

Physical: 9

Source

Library: 10

ARC/Netgalley: 8

Owned: 18

~Cassie

March Wrap Up

March was a really great month of reading for me since I finished 22 things! I also read a lot from both TBR’s that I posted plus knocked off some ARC’s and library books. I also read some of my favorite books of the year and I feel like I was able to completely reset my reading. Since summer of last year I have had a bad habit of picking things up and then putting them down and just thinking about them but not finishing them. March was truly like a breath of fresh air and it feels good to start to get some normalcy in some way. My last relapse left me with more complications and physically I’m struggling more but mentally and emotionally I feel more like myself this past month and I’m going to mark that as a win. I’m still praying and hoping for perfect healing but I feel like I have also made the shift that MOG is something that I will have forever and I have accepted it. In saying that though I’m also praying hard that my infusion (happening at the end of April!) will prevent anymore relapses and I can just work on getting stronger and recovering.

Books Read: 22

DNF’s: 1 *Snow Place to Die by Mary Daheim

March TBR: 5/9

March Mystery Madness TBR: 5/9

Best Book: Parachutes By Kelly Yang

Worst Book: Snow Place to Die

Dear Child By Romy Hausmann

Her Dark Lies By J.T. Ellison

The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson

Changeling By Matt Wesolowski

Danger in Numbers by Heather Graham

House of Earth and Blood By Sarah J. Maas

48 hr BookopolAthon Wrap Up

Spring Into Readingathon Wrap Up

I’m going to link all my Wednesday WWW posts here because I talk weekly about my thoughts about all the books I’m reading and they might be helpful if there is a book you are interested in but I haven’t written a full review for/yet.

WWW Wednesday 3.10.21

WWW Wednesday 3.17.21

WWW 3.24.21

WWW 3.31.21

~Cassie

Spring Into ReadingAthon Wrap Up

This readathon ended more than a week ago but I just finished the last book I started reading for it over the weekend. I read three of the five books that I had wanted to which is pretty good especially considering the fact that I stopped the readathon a few days early for BookopolAthon.

Prompt: Over the rainbow

Rating: 4/5

I really enjoyed this mystery that is an homage to the classic Sherlock Holmes story. I think that if you aren’t someone that really enjoys the logic of figuring out a mystery then you might not enjoy this book since that is the whole plot. Anthony Gillingham is a great protagonist because he has a photographic memory and I appreciated his character’s way of solving the crime. I knocked off a star because the more the story progressed the more Milne started keeping things from the reader which to me kind of takes the fun out of a mystery. I really enjoy mysteries where the clues are all laid out for the reader and it is up to us to put it all together.

Prompt: Spring Cleaning

Rating: 3/5

This is the second book in the King series and the one that wraps up King and Doe’s story. These books are dark romances that are action packed with lots of twists and reveals but I don’t much like the characters or the writing. I will keep reading them because they are entertaining and I am still interested enough on what is going to happen to all the characters next. The next arc of this series follows Bear who had some pretty heavy stuff happen to him in Tyrant and I already like his character a lot so I have high hopes for his books. Trigger warnings for pretty much everything in this book series.

Luck of the Irish (read a book with green on the cover)

Rating: 4.5/5

This book doesn’t come out until July 13 so my full review won’t be out until a lot closer to its publication date. I was instantly hooked on this take on a locked room mystery and then it had a definite lull in the middle before it had an ending that blew me away. To be honest this book is probably more of a four star but there is something about Megan Miranda’s writing that I really connect with so I went ahead and gave her the extra half star. Despite it’s slow parts I do think this would be the perfect book to take for all the pool or beach/lake days that you have this summer.

~Cassie

48 Hr Bookopolathon Wrap Up

I had a lot of fun participating in the second round of the 48 hr bookopoly readathon. It was fun coming up with books for each prompt and I got a lot of great reading in. I loved all five things that I read and I couldn’t be more happy with the way the weekend went. I’m on week 2 of taking the highest dose of prednisone which is a steroid to help stop my relapse (which finally happened about a week ago!) and to help my body recover. That is relevant information because when I’m on the prednisone I basically only need a few hours of sleep a night which allowed me to get a lot of reading in while my family was sleeping. Hence, why I am flying through books lately. Know that you know why I am such a reading machine lately let’s move onto all the amazing things that I read.

Roll Drop 1: Dark Cover + Fantasy

This was such an engrossing and inventive world that Okorafor created. I was so captivated by this novella that I read it in two sittings. It is only 98 pages but I tend to read Sci Fi slower because all the math and science takes a bit for me to wrap my head around. This book does have a heavy fantasy element but the math that this world uses was so fascinating. I’m really looking forward to reading the next two books in this trilogy as soon as possible.

Rating: 5/5

Roll Drop 1: Dark Cover

This is not my favorite Agatha Christie which is a little disappointing because it is Agatha Christie’s favorite novel that she wrote. I did still really enjoy this one and I will never not love a locked room trope mystery. I’m usually completely shocked by Christie’s endings and I saw most of this one coming right away. That being said Crooked House was a wonderful setting and it gave me a lot of Clue vibes which is always fun.

Rating: 4.5/5

Roll Drop 2: Contemporary + POC Rep

This is one of the best books that I have read this year. It is one that everyone should read and I am so happy that I grabbed a copy from the library when I saw it appear on people’s best of year lists last year. This story is real, authentic, heartbreaking, gritty and one of, if not the best, young adult contemporaries that I have ever read. This is a hefty book to read during a readathon (496 pages) but I absolutely flew through it. I can only speak to my experience of growing up in the Bay Area and having Asian friends but the pressure that Asian teenagers can feel when it comes to grades and extracurriculars felt absolutely honest to how I remember high school. This book has so many rich layers to it but it is ultimately an honest and brutal look at what life is like for Asians who are either born here or come here as “parachutes” (international students) on top of having to deal with being a female in a male centered world and the complexities and hardships of being a teenager. Kelly Yang’s writing is phenomenal and a lot of this book is own voices and her pain and experiences really shine through. I highly recommend this book to everyone and it is one that I will be buying for my personal library and having my sons read when they are in high school. There are numerous trigger warnings in this book including rape and sexual assault so please be aware of that before starting this.

Rating: 5/5

Roll Drop 3: Chance card + First in a series

This was a fun book to pick. I went through my Kindle and picked out the first 8 books that I saw that were first in a series and then used a random number generator to pick which one I read. I landed on this Tessa Bailey book and I couldn’t be happier. This book is fun, sexy, sweet and spicy. I really enjoyed our hero and heroine and how Bailey built up their relationship in such a short amount of time. This book series is all about four siblings on a road trip and each book is their own romance. The only downside to this book is that both characters have a few issues that get talked about a lot and at times it was a lot to get through. Rita has issues with being a chef in her mom’s shadow and can’t handle rejection so she shuts herself off from the world. Jasper was really into partying until he realized everyone thinks he is a joke so he quit messing around but is still dealing with feels of inferiority. I love how they were both able to connect over their problems and their chemistry was off the charts. I will hopefully be reading the rest of the books in the series soon since I own them all now but it is a lot to take on emotionally so we will see how soon I get to them.

Rating: 4/5

Roll Drop 4: Set in present day + a genre you don’t typically read

I was happy that I had checked a few comics and mangas out of the library because it came in handy for this roll drop. I read Archie Vol. 1 all the way back in May 2019 and I remember liking it but not loving it. This volume was so much better to me because it dealt with a lot of what I remember Archie being about when I would read it as a kid. I love all the drama between Veronica being rich and Betty and Veronica fighting over Archie. I’m hoping to go to the library this week and return all the books I read this week and also grab the next one or two volumes of this series.

Rating: 5/5

~Cassie