Book Review: “Roping the Cowboy” by Kennedy Fox

Hello again!

EDIT: I didn’t really have a good time of figuring out the best way of publishing my posts – I do hope you enjoy this review just as much though. Don’t worry tomorrow, we’ll carry on as normally!

April was productive but not as much last month…

I was able to finish six books. I have never done this before; my usual quota is three to four books each month, but I was able to convert the majority of my reads into audiobooks or they were a part of my second list of books I am keeping track of this year. If you are curious about this, you can click here to be transported to that blog post.


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Originally on the Read Me Romance podcast. This eBook release is a novella set in the world of the Bishop Brothers with bonus chapters & an extended epilogue!

An unforgettable one-night stand filled with heat and passion starts the unraveling of a love-hate feud between a small-town baker and an arrogant cowboy.

When Katarina shows up at the Circle B Ranch Bed & Breakfast to serve her new gluten-free, sugar-free, organic pastries, Braxton decides to make her life hell for kicking him out the next morning and then pretending he never existed.

First step, make fun of her tasteless muffins.
Second step, get revenge.

Soon the duo are at each other’s throats, getting even until things go too far and the chemistry burns too hot.

Kat claims their night together meant nothing.
He’s determined to prove her wrong.

taken from Goodreads.

If you didn’t know, I absolutely love the ladies of Kennedy Fox and I’ve actually had this book for a few months now. Anytime they have multiple books out for free, I am taking an advantage of the opportunity and I had just finished a great month of reading and wanted to basically sink my teeth into something juicy so I thought I could get a move on with the Circle B Ranch series, since I have quite a collection piling up on my Kindle, and I just thought if you needed a nice and sexy short story, you could look into these books soon!

“Beautiful flowers for a beautiful lady.” I smirk. “You know I’m immune to that cowboy Casanova bullshit, right?”

This quote is exactly something I’d say prior to reading any cowboy-ish books. I thought I would only fold for Vanessa Vale’s stuff since she loves to discuss dirty cowboys, but oh no, apparently Kennedy Fox is taking me for a ride as well!

Honestly, this was a great way to start the entire series. You rarely see novellas at the top of the series–or at least I don’t!–but I think the main reason why it worked so well is because not a lot of women out there enjoy cowboys. I live in the Midwest and I can personally tell you that I’ve found country dudes somewhat fake. There’s a difference between acting the part and actually being a cowboy, like Ree Drummond has herself a true cowboy, with husband Ladd. He works on many different areas on the ranch and not a lot of guys who want to be like that can do it physically.

I will be diving into the other books of this series this summer as a little treat to myself. Here are the ones that have been sitting in the depths of my e-reader for way too long: Catching the Cowboy and Kissing the Cowboy. There are many reasons why I absolutely love Kennedy Fox books but the one thing I love the most is that all of their books (until said otherwise!) are standalones! They may belong in a series and some characters from the other stories can join in through background scenes, and this makes me feel better for not having the exact order to know everything. Jasinda Wilder writes her books in the same way, or at least the Badd Brothers series can be read out of order too, which has helped me get over my insecurities for not knowing certain players and stories.

Are you reading the ‘Circle B Ranch’ series by Kennedy Fox too? Which book or couple do you love the most? How are you about the cowboys involved too?

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Book Review: “Shield-Maiden: Under The Howling Moon” by Melanie Karsak

Hello!

I want to say, I can’t believe I am talking about another series by Melanie Karsak, but it’s happening! Although, if we’re being technical, it was actually my mom’s fault we are here in the first place as she told me shortly after I finished The Raven and The Dove by K.M. Butler last month.

Back in December, while I was reading my way through Christmas inspired stories, I attempted to read Melanie’s prequel novella called, “Shield-Maiden: Winternight Gambit” but I just couldn’t get into it as much as I thought I would. I’ve never been able to enjoy Viking fiction and trust me when I say there are TONS out there, which is both a blessing and a curse because it is super difficult to find anything outside of the Norse mythology. The fact I found Melanie’s “Celtic Blood” series first was interesting, but honestly both mythologies are somewhat similar, and I think that’s why I’m able to mesh with it now, because I have grown to learn more about “earth based” and/or pagan lifestyle, even if the story itself is fictionized.


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Chosen by Odin. Destined for Valhalla.

In my dreams, Odin whispers to me. 
He tells me I’m destined to wield a legendary sword.
He tells me my road will bring me to Valhalla.

But when I wake, I’m only Hervor. Fatherless. Unloved. Unwanted. Jarl Bjartmar, my grandfather, calls me cursed. My mother, her memories stolen by the gods, has forgotten me. Everyone tells me I should have been left to the wolves, but no one will tell me why.

None but Eydis, a thrall with völva magic, believes I’m meant for a greater destiny. Yet who can believe a devotee of Loki?

When the king and his son arrive for the holy blót, the runes begin to fall in my favor. A way forward may lie in the handsome Viking set on winning my heart, but only if I unravel the mystery hanging over me first.

Fans of Vikings, The Last Kingdom, and The Mists of Avalon will relish Shield Maiden: Under the Howling Moon. This sweeping Viking Historical Fantasy retells the Norse Hervarar Saga, depicting the life of the shieldmaiden Hervor, the inspiration for J. R. R. Tolkien’s Éowyn.

taken from Gooreads.


I didn’t know what to expect from this story, but once I started, I felt comfortable with my surroundings. Anytime I jump into Melanie’s work, I instantly felt happy on the inside. Everything came together and I fully allowed myself to dive deep and embrace all of these characters and the events mentioned throughout the story.

I truly love having to focus on one character’s point of view and I think this is what I drive for in all of my books honestly. It was a freak accident that I was able to enjoy K.M. Butler’s book so much, because it had two views, but in order to understand the lives of those characters, you needed separate views as a reader. However, with this story, we follow only Hervor, and to me, she was just as powerful as Halla and Taurien. If you haven’t checked out my review of that book, the link is located in the first paragraph.

“Of all the places to live. Like a dwarf in a cave. Not in a glen. Not in a tree. Oh no, up the side of the steepest mountain,”

The entire book was exciting, but there were some interesting twists throughout the pages. Despite being the granddaughter of a jarl, she wasn’t very respected among her family. This is one of the biggest wonders of the story, because her mother somehow lost part of her memories, and even though Svafa is the beloved daughter of the jarl, Hervor is not.

She has constantly in the book said that she is unloved, but I don’t believe she is, she has multiple people in her village that adore her plenty like Eydis, who may be a slave to the family; she and Hervor have a beautiful friendship and I think Hervor tends to forget about that. She also has Yrsa as well, who has been teaching her all about being a shield maiden and her hopes is with her cousin Leif, who like Eydis, has been with her for the majority of her life and wants to see her flourish as well!

Besides Hervor being a big favorite for me, Eydis reminded me of someone I know. She is one of my sister’s friends from school and I basically used her face and goofy antics to picture this character a little better. She is a devotee of Loki, who is very mischievous in both the Norse mythology and the Marvel universe, so she has her weird moments too but there is a scene towards the end that really got me good. I physically laughed because not only was it perfect, but it showed you how funny she naturally is. I had saved like six quotes throughout, and I could have used any of the ones that came out of Hervor that could reflect her story, but I couldn’t see this post without sharing what Eydis has upon coming to Yrsa and Hervor.

After I had finished, I immediately went on Amazon and grabbed both the next and third book of the series. And I hate to say that it took me to four days to write this post and but they’ve currently sitting in my Kindle; I didn’t want to get any of the information confused once I began reading the second book, so I had to wait it out, which was tortuous, but I’m done here so I’m off to find out what happens to these wonderful characters! PS: I’m currently in the middle of “Under the Hunter’s Moon” so I’ll have the second review finished at the end of April.

Have you read “Shield-Maiden: Under The Howling Moon” by Melanie Karsak yet? If you have, who were your favorite characters and scenes? What other Viking books can you recommend to anyone out there?

snowflake

Book Review: “The Best of Us” by Kennedy Fox

Hello!

One thing I wanted to do this year is limit the amount of romance books. I want to focus on other genres, but I saw the ladies of Kennedy Fox mentioned this one was free on Amazon last month, and I couldn’t help myself I had to get it before the opportunity disappeared. They were also in the process of releasing the fourth book of this series called “The Heart Of Us” so I figured I would check out the start of this collection.

I am still on the fence about it, mainly because I don’t really care for age-gap romances, but the snippets they shared on Instagram prior made me really happy, so we’ll have to see what comes out of this post. I’d still like to continue Travis and Viola‘s story of their Checkmate series, but these things take time apparently!


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What happens when the biggest blizzard of the year hits and you’re trapped in a cabin with your best friend’s brother? You take every opportunity to spend time together and make him fall in love with you.

The Best of Us is a best friend’s brother, opposites attract, and snowed-in together standalone romance.

taken from Goodreads.


There were a lot of things I truly loved about this story. I mean besides the steamy sex scenes; it had a great and relatable plot amongst the characters. The main reason why I choose the word “relatable” is because everyone, especially Ryan, are coming out of the COVID-19 mess. He is a doctor who saw firsthand of what the virus did to his co-workers and patients. I thoroughly enjoyed Ryan as a whole, he was portrayed as a stoic person, but also showed a lot of emotion about his family and work. Whenever I read books like this, I am pulled towards the female character a lot of the time, but for this, I was fully on Team Ryan.

I want Kendall as much as she wants me, and the only thing coming between us is my insecurities.

Now with that being said, it doesn’t mean Kendall wasn’t an awesome character. I admired her sense of humor but most importantly her strength while wanting to find herself outside of her family and focusing on her charity work.

It was interesting to see how these characters share their reasons why they do what they do and you as the reader find out they are more alike in ways neither one expected, and I was surprised I didn’t find it annoying or unrealistic once they got over that hump–no pun intended there!–and began to think there could be more for them as a couple.

If you haven’t read anything by Kennedy Fox, I definitely you should grab this book. If you think using the pandemic as a prop for this story is a bit weird, because honestly, I thought I wouldn’t be into it either, trust me when I say it makes sense to use it to show you another side of Ryan’s life as a doctor.

Have you read “The Best Of Us” yet? If you have, what were your thoughts about this story of Ryan and Kendall?

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Book Review: “The Raven and The Dove: A Novel of Viking Normandy” by K.M. Butler

Hello!

I am here with my first book review of 2022. I really thought about making you wait until Monday, but I knew I would have to fix everything in my previous post, so I just decided to give it out anyways!

This book was a surprise, even for me, because I am not into reading Viking stories. I’m not even into all of these shows on various channels. I’ve tried reading other books in the past, but I hadn’t found one that really meshed with me, that is until I came across this book at the start of January.


890 A.D. Shieldmaiden Halla hungers for death in battle and a place in Valhalla until a Frankish sword shatters her expectations of a glorious end. In the space between life and death, she instead confronts the emptiness of a wasted life.

Hiding from the Norsemen among shattered abbeys and abandoned towns in northern Frankia, Christian landowner Taurin fears the day a dragon-headed longship rediscovers them and drags his people away as slaves.

Their worlds collide when Jarl Rollo of Rouen annexes Taurin’s town and appoints Halla as ruler. United in an uneasy political marriage, Halla and Taurin must confront their conflicted feelings and their peoples’ mutual hostility. Tensions strain their fragile marriage. Christians who refuse to obey a woman stoke rebellion. Glory-seeking Norse raiders terrorize Halla’s domain. If they can’t unite, the threats surrounding them will tear apart their new family and swallow both of their peoples in war and ruin.

taken from Goodreads.

I want to read more historical fiction books for 2022 and I am really glad that I gave this book a chance because it was well written, and it is full of humor too. They each like to make fun of the other, especially when Taurin first meets Halla and her group in the beginning. Despite their large facades they like joke with one another and it is a blast! If you think it doesn’t have any stories of their notorious violence, the author does include the battle aspect of the Norsemen. It is featured throughout the entire book, and it is one of the reasons why Halla takes the opportunity to create a place with both the people of Lilliebonne and Norse farmers together as a larger trading port.

I have always wondered how Vikings died out, what was it that drove them away from their raids, mythology, and general lifestyle, and it was so neat to get a peek into how this could have happened. However, I also thought about how the English natives thought about the Norsemen, I mean, besides grief and horror from the way they have treated them in the past, between collecting the riches and massacring the nearby villages, how willing were they to accept authority from a Norse lord?

“Perhaps we are not so different after all.”

Despite being a fictional based story, this gives you a way to see on everything. The characters were very thought out, based how they saw one another through their gods and rituals. Creatures like Father Norbert are always tricky to me, because he actually has a lot of power among the aldermen and the rest of his congregation. Priests were the only ones allowed to read the bible, so villagers believed anything they said because they didn’t have any other way to guide them through daily life. However, the Norse made their mythology available for everyone. They told celebrated their gods with poems and songs. It didn’t matter on their age or sex; everyone knew the same stories. It was also because of this openness, that they allowed women become part of their armies as shieldmaidens.

Halla and Taurin are opposites on all sides, but they were curious about the other and I found this very comforting. You wouldn’t think these characters would feel anything for each other, but it was interesting to see their perspectives change about the new neighbors. Although Taurin doesn’t fully understand Halla’s world, and he was very vocal about that in certain sections–and it got very boring as we went on, but I think the turning point for them was after the blot. Halla gave a harvest ritual and Taurin’s feelings about the whole thing pretty much ruled the last half of the book, but it was interesting to see Father Norbert’s thoughts about the Norse kind of switch in a way.

I don’t know whether the author will make this into a series, a part of me hopes for the possibility, because I would like to see how these characters move on, but I also thought the way it ended was basically perfect, so we’ll have to see what happens later on in the year.

Have you read “The Raven and The Dove” by K.M. Butler yet? If you know any other Viking books like this one, please send me some suggestions in the comments section.

snowflake

The Goodreads Challenge | Hopes for 2022

Hello!

This year I am doing something completely different on my Goodreads Challenge. If you don’t know what this is, Goodreads is an app that allows you to find books. You can make up lists or shelves as they call them to categorize all of the books, like fiction and nonfiction. At the start of a new year, they give you a spot to choose a number of books you want to read in the 12 months. I’ve tried to make one in the last five years I’ve had it. Since 2019, I’ve been trying to up the number of the previous year, and even though I did get to 40 books in December, I decided to go for it in 2022.

I like the Goodreads Challenge a lot. I’m not one to make any big goals for the year anyways, so being able to set a somewhat large number of books for one year can be thrilling as a whole. I am always so pumped to start on a new one, but this time I decided to change it up a bit. I had the though back in September of splitting it up to focus on books that have been turned into movies. I love movies, and last year I learned how much I missed making time for them so I thought I could connect the two and hope I could make room for both loves. At the moment, I’ve only done one but I have been very distracted lately so I hope I can up my game a bit as the year goes on.

There is one drawback about this. I am not sharing my thoughts about these books and their film adaptions on my blog. I actually have a separate idea for that, but don’t worry I have two books that I am getting ready to publish–one might be coming out this Friday! I couldn’t just stop creating my book reviews though. I like being able to talk about thoughts on certain books and it just seemed silly to quit on all fronts, so I will continue doing those posts every month.


Now you’re probably wondering I am doing with the books on my other list. I do have something really cool to share with you today.

Around the same time, I came up with first idea, I was watching a lot of videos on YouTube about these reading journals. I was puzzled by them at first, but then I started watching like 10 a week and I knew I was hooked on the idea of creating a different space away from my blog to talk about my books. I was a bit hesitant at first, but I am always looking for something to be more creative and I thought this would be pretty cool to try out.

I ended up talking about it a lot with my mom and she agreed that it would be a good idea to try something new. Once I found out about monthly trackers, I was pretty much sealed on the deal and basically asked for a brand-new journal, calligraphy markers and pens, and more books that were being turned into movies this year on my Christmas list. I did receive the dotted notebook I asked for and it’s been a learning curve for me so far! I have the markers and pens as well, but I haven’t really used them that much. And out of all the books on my Christmas list, I got one book and it was Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

In the videos I’ve seen of these reading journals, everyone comes up with a different theme and I decided on Harry Potter, and I hoped to capture a bit of the Wizarding World and place it throughout the different spreads, but I’ve had a rough time just making simple banners, so it is a bit plain in some areas, but I am getting better at it. I also have the standard bookshelves but I totally forgot to include the House colors for the various types of reading, because I want to explore them as well, so, gray is for Kindle while pink is for Audiobook and Print is in the color turquoise. I don’t include the titles on the spines because I write too large to do that and I just want to see which way wins.

One thing I have learned in the past two years is that I am obsessed with words. Every time I found one that seemed unique, or it was used in another way than we normally say it, I wanted to collect it for later, so when I got my journal, I decided I would make a section just for my words and it’s been a fun thing to keep track of, and even my parents have enjoyed them too!

Here were the words I was obsessed with in January, and I have to apologize if any of the words are misspelled as well.

Words included are: synapes. candytuff, cur, filgree, ells, hewed, crux, tedium, signews, skein, bishopric, morose, trounced, brocade, whetstones, alight, coffer, chignon, commencement, gythia, truncated, primsigned, saccade, demesne, vehemence, daub, architaves, granary, manses, crux, hinterland, and picaresque

The last spread I made in my green journal was my end-of-the-month-stats. I want to keep track of everything like how many books, days, pages, and words I would make it to every month. I have these long rectangles going vertically on two pages (I actually have three because I made the boxes too big to include November and December!) and I assign different colors for each one and it’s easily my second favorite thing in the journal.

After hearing me complain about it in the beginning, my mom found a little book called “My Reading Life” by Anne Bogel on one of the people she follows on Instagram and we looked at it because despite my best efforts, I knew I needed some help, so I got it around the second week of January, and the main thing I use in it is the monthly tracker. I really love those pages, because it is so easy, but you have to be really careful because you only get little diamond shapes in each block, and you can feel lost once you get into the thick of a month.

I only have one book written in there already, and it was Still Alice by Lisa Genova. I like to start a new year with disability themes. I just like to get them out of the way honestly! I found this book featured on Kindle Unlimited and it was a great read but I’m so thankful I’ve only watched the film once since it came out in like 2016. There were some changes made throughout, I really like Julienne Moore and Kristen Stewart for both Alice and her daughter Lydia. My second book will be 12 Years A Slave for Black History Month and I have always wanted to watch the film and luckily HBOMAX played it all month long, so I have that to look forward once I’m finished. And yes, I have decided on my March read but I’m keeping it a secret for now.

I am reading rather slowly, and I don’t know why I’m doing this because I’ve always read multiple books with opposite genres at once, but I think it has something to do with the fact I hadn’t published this post out for January and I wasn’t able to relax in between the two areas, so let’s hope I zip right through the incoming books and their respectful movies too!

How many books do you hope to read in 2022? Do you have an app to help you keep track of your books like Goodreads or are you one to use a reading (bullet) journal instead?

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