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Hi this is Phoebe’s Mom.

Phoebe had a medical emergency on February 12th which involved her right eye. She will be out, per dr’s orders, until August 2021. She apologizes for all inconveniences.

Updated 7 March 2021.

Photo from: https://mojoscollections.uk/product/ladys-steampunk-pirate-eye-armor-patch-mask/

Tour: What the World Needs Now: Bees! by Cheryl Rosebush

What the World Needs Now: Bees! explores the vital role busy, busy bees play in helping plants to grow the food people and animals love to eat.

Inside the sprawling forests of Ontario, Canada lives a friendly black bear named Melly. One of Melly’s favourite things to do is EAT! And many of the delicious fruits she snacks on wouldn’t grow without the help of some very important little forest creatures.

Kindle

Paperback

Goodreads

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About: What the World Needs Now series written by Cheryl Rosebush.

What the World Needs Now is an environmental children’s book series for ages 4-8 that aims to connect the world’s youngest book lovers to the importance of nature and our place in it.

Each book in the series follows a friendly animal through its habitat, helping kids learn about one thing the world needs now, be it more trees or bees or less plastic, to maintain a healthy planet.

The series is designed to help parents and educators lay the foundation for future learning about the world’s environmental challenges. But for our littlest kids, the connection starts at a much simpler point: their first job is to fall in love with nature – because you don’t protect what you don’t love. The books support engaging with our kids on how we can better respect and care for the only planet we have.

Further Details:
Publisher: February 2021
Illustrated by Zuzana Svobodová
Series: What the World Needs Now #2; Settings: Canada
Pages: Unk.
Promo photos are from the Author’s Website.

Promotion materials provided by Love Books Tours

Review: Best Laid Plans by Roan Parrish

A man who’s been moving his whole life finally finds a reason to stay put.

Synopsis:

Charlie Matheson has spent his life taking care of things. When his parents died two days before his eighteenth birthday, he took care of his younger brother, even though that meant putting his own dreams on hold. He took care of his father’s hardware store, building it into something known several towns over. He took care of the cat he found in the woods…so now he has a cat.

When a stranger with epic tattoos and a glare to match starts coming into Matheson’s Hardware, buying things seemingly at random and lugging them off in a car so beat-up Charlie feels bad for it, his instinct is to help. When the man comes in for the fifth time in a week, Charlie can’t resist intervening.

Rye Janssen has spent his life breaking things. Promises. His parents’ hearts. Leases. He isn’t used to people wanting to put things back together—not the crumbling house he just inherited, not his future and certainly not him. But the longer he stays in Garnet Run, the more he can see himself belonging there. And the more time he spends with Charlie, the more he can see himself falling asleep in Charlie’s arms…and waking up in them.

Is this what it feels like to have a home—and someone to share it with?13

Excerpt:

Through the glass front door, Charlie saw an ominously smoking car grind to a halt in the parking lot. It looked like it had originally been a late-eighties two-door Chevy Beretta but had since been Frankensteined of multiple vehicles’ pieces, many of them different colors and some of them clinging desperately together, helped only by electrical tape and grime.

Charlie winced, fingers itching to put the car together properly—or, perhaps more practically, drive it to the junkyard and put it out of its misery.

Photo by Olenka Sergienko on Pexels.com

Marie was bagging Bill Duff’s purchases when the door burst open. In stepped a man Charlie’d never seen before.

He certainly would have remembered.

Long, dark hair fell messily over his shoulders. He was slim and angular, with a slinky walk that made him look like he was made of hips and shoulders. The cuffs and collar of his long-sleeved T-shirt were worn rough and the knees of his jeans blown out. He looked like ten miles of dirt road.

Charlie raised a hand at the newcomer.

“Welcome to Matheson’s. I’m Charlie. Can I help you find anything?”

The man’s light, kohl-lined eyes darted around, as if Charlie might be talking to someone else, then, looking confused, said, “Uh. No.”

He hurried off down aisle one and Charlie let him alone. Some people didn’t want help or attention while they shopped, and Charlie was just glad of a new customer—and a young one at that. Business was okay, but with each passing year overnight shipping and Amazon ate further into his profit margin, particularly with customers under forty.

The stranger walked up and down the aisles, muttering inaudibly, swearing audibly, and consulting his phone every minute or so, as if the answers he wouldn’t accept from Charlie lay there.

After the better part of half an hour, he approached the register, arms full, though there were baskets and small carts available.

“Find everything okay?” Charlie asked as the man dumped his purchases on the counter.

“Uh, sure.”

He sounded distracted and was glaring at the items he’d chosen.

“You need any help with…” Charlie gestured at the hardware equivalent to marshmallows, cheese, and spaghetti before him.

The man raised a dramatic dark eyebrow but didn’t say anything. His eyes, Charlie could see now, were gray, and his skin was pale, as if he were a black-and-white image in a color world.

Photo by Ono Kosuki on Pexels.com

That pale glare lanced him, and he looked away, ringing and bagging things up.

The man swiped his credit card like he was ripping something in half and had to do it again when the machine didn’t get a read. He glared at it.

When Charlie handed him his bags he couldn’t help needling the man a little.

“Need any help getting things out to your car?” he asked, as he’d ask anyone.

The man glared down at the bags he was holding, then up at Charlie.

“No,” he said, like the word was his favorite one and, in his mouth, capable of expressing every feeling and thought he had.

“Okay, then,” Charlie said, purposefully cheery. “Have a good one.”

The man narrowed his eyes like there was a barb hidden in the words he simply hadn’t found yet.

“Uh-huh,” he said, and wrinkled his nose suspiciously, backing out the door.

“Who was that?” Marie asked. Charlie turned to see her lurking in the doorway from the back room.

“I don’t know,” Charlie said.

But he was damn sure gonna find out.

Roan Parrish has created two characters that you cannot help fall in love with in Best Laid Plans

Welcome to Garnet Run, Wyoming, where stereotypical small town attitudes are the norm with the exception of the acceptance of “love is love”. I did not read Parrish’s first book in the series, but after reading Best Laid Plans I want to. Parrish has created characters with depth, attitude, fears, and their own type of humor (laugh). 

Photo by Marko Blazevic on Pexels.com

I love Rye. Rye has always been alone even when he was living with at least eight people. He feels he is on the outside of life. Life has not been easy for him since he struck out on his own when he was sixteen-years-old. He carries all of these negative demons in him and some are true whether it be from circumstance or lack of ambition. It is only when you see him with Marmot that you know he is all heart. Then when he realizes who he wants to be and what he wants to do…don’t get in his way. I think Rye grows up in Best Laid Plans.

Charlie, on the hand, has only known responsibility. He is steadfast, too helpful…Rye is right some serial killer will end up getting Charlie (laugh). Charlie is coming to realization with Rye’s help that he needs to learn how to be responsible for his own needs. This means discovering what he wants, needs, and make a plan to do it. Learn to live for himself. I don’t want to give anything away, but Rye is absolutely beautiful in handling Charlie’s insecurities, Simon’s anxiety, and the kids’ issues.

I love this book. I love Rye and Charlie, Jack and Simon, Jane, Marmot, and Murder Kittie. I cannot recommend Best Laid Plans enough. Forget adding this book to your #TBR list, read it now.

I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Books in the “Garnet Run” series:

#1: Better Than People

Further Details:
Publisher: Carina Press, 9781335924803, 23 February 2021
Editor: Kerri Buckley; Narrator: Greg Boudreaux
Series: Garnet Run #2; Settings: Garnet Run, Wyoming, U.S.
Pages: 266; Sex: Rated R
SC: Mental Health, LGBTQ+ couples

Promotion materials provided by Carina Press.

Randoms: Fae Friday Ep. 306

I hate talking badly about books…but guess what I found something to say (laugh). 

What did you read – that you would recommend about…

Kristy’s topic today is: It’s #FaeFriday and I bet you already knew what this week’s prompt would be. What book didn’t live up to the hype?

I hate talking badly about books. This is why I don’t publicize my bad reviews (laugh).

So which books do I not finish? Or why don’t I publicize a bad review?

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I find my personal prejudices get in the way. Now this can be good for some books because I will rave about the book and get on my soapbox because they are talking about a socially vital topic. I warn my readers that I have a biased opinion and they are going to get it full throttle (smh laugh).

On the hand, knowledge can be a dangerous thing. I used to be an editor and most of the time you wouldn’t realize this because I am usually typing up my reviews at the last minute and do not take the time to proofread them. (I’m working on that this year.) What I hate in a book that has been sent to me to review is if it is flooded with spelling errors, bad grammar, and continuity issues. If it is a really good book, then a couple won’t bother me. BUT, if the book is just moving along, I spot them all. I was recently sent a book two in a series and asked to review book one first because I was not familiar with the cast. Book One had been out for a bit. If I did not love my Kindle I would have thrown it against the wall. I was beyond frustrated and had to write to the agency to say I couldn’t even finish the first book – never mind attempt the second book. Beyond frustrating.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Now if a writer, publisher, publicist lets me know beforehand that it hasn’t gone through the editing process, I will send them my notes…if I like them (laugh). Editing is hard work so, “Kudos to all of the editors out there!”

Now there are books that I just can’t get past because the premise of the story is distasteful to me or crosses a moral line that even though I know it is fiction…yeah it’s a no go. Some examples might be breaking girl code over a potential partner…seriously? Women need to support each other, not tear each other down. 

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I stopped reading one author who I had read for years because she made the heroine a slut. I still remember the book and I haven’t read that author since (laugh). Now I have no problems with sluts, I have a problem with an author who has always been an old-fashioned romantic in their books suddenly changing and not giving me any warning. In their defense, I was a hard core one-to-one person romance junkie at the time. Hello, who wants real-life? (laugh)

There is another (laugh smh) quirk I have. Dude you are not using protection, this will piss me off for multiple pages afterwards. Now imagine this is a smut book and you can see their rating slipping. 

I have also called out an author about a position used in the book. Hello?! Yeah…no. I wrote that I wanted to see this action done right in front of me because it is not possible. Sometimes it is really hard to suspend belief. 

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

This also goes for another setting as to utilizing the same technique in every book: stroke her arm, nibble the neck, and breathe against her lips. Next scene: brush your fingertips across her breasts, her breath hitches, he then glances his hand across her nipple….in every single book. I don’t read her any longer either and I loved her basic stories, but I like sex in my books and yeah…onwards.

It is not so much about living up to the hype as to what I want to see in the books I read. Let’s promote women being good to each other and to ourselves. We deserve safe sex too, let’s put it in (giggle). 

Keep up with the latest reviews and stories on Phoebe’s Randoms by subscribing now!

Check out today’s Fae Friday offering: 

Mini-Reviews: Who are we killing today? See who Martha Henley and Steve Orlando, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, and Alec Morgan pick to knock-off.

Today is #FrightFriday and I have a teaser and a really cool graphic novel to give you some angst today.

Kiss, Marry, Kill by Martha Henley

One chosen for a kiss. The second picked to be a wife. And the third, condemned to die.

July 2016, Classen High School Alumni celebrate thirty years since they walked the halls of their alma mater. It’s a night of toasts, laughs, and fond memories. While flipping through the pages of a yearbook, twelve people decide the fate of twelve others when they play a random game of chance.

None recognize that there was a vengeful soul mingling among them that night. His psychotic, depraved thoughts take their innocent picks and twist them into a perverted game of murder.

Kiss, Marry, Kill is the Prequel Episode of the new crime thriller series, “Reunion Pact” by Martha Henley. If you’re looking for a new novella length thriller series with realistic characters and psychological twists on the pages, then you’ll love these episodes.

“Reunion Pact” is a nine-episode novella series, written to be read in order and in its entirety. Each episode tells a complete story, but they are one part of the whole incredible tale. Start it today with this prequel episode, Kiss, Marry, Kill!13

Martha Henley packs a lot in Kiss, Marry, Kill to set the stage for Henley’s nine-episode novella series. The cast of characters is a mix of high school clique and outsiders. The back stories that they share while getting drinks at the bar is a great way to introduce a large cast. Heck, everyone does a “remember when” at a high school reunion. I think if Henley had at least killed off one of them to start the series, maybe without saying who was killed would have been a better carrot to entice people to the next novella. Overall, a good teaser with a great premise. (Pace Bend Press, 12 July 2020, pp.24) Goodreads. StoryGraph.

I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Kill A Man by Steve Orlando, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, and Alec Morgan

UEER Male Culture Meets Mixed Martial Arts

Synopsis:

A brand new original graphic novel from writers Steve Orlando and Phillip Kennedy Johnson featuring art by Alec Morgan and lettering by Jim Campbell.

In the early days of Mixed Martial Arts, kickboxer icon DJ Bellyi is beaten to death in the ring after yelling a homosexual slur at an opponent, while his young son James watches in horror from the stands.

Sixteen years later, young James Belly has become an MMA star in his own right, with top-tier endorsements and an imminent title shot. But when James is outed as gay by an opponent in a press conference, he loses everything: his title shot, his fans, his team, even his family. To fight his way back, he turns to the only one left in the world willing to train him: Xavier Mayne, the man who killed his father.

Says Johnson: “We’re living in an important and dynamic time in American History, when we have the power and responsibility to decide what kind of nation the United States is going to be going forward. Telling a story with such an unlikely crossover — male queer culture and MMA culture — is Steve’s, Alec’s and my way of making that decision for ourselves.”

I love MMA and I was excited to read this graphic novel by Steve Orlando, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, and Alec Morgan. Kill A Man spans two generations of fighters who face the same obstacles. It is not that far-fetched as the world has not really changed in regards to homosexuality – especially as it relates to sports dominated by bio male humans.

One man is killed in the ring, but I do not look at as “murder” because those are the chances when anyone enters the ring or decides to engage in a fight. The impact of the fight effects more than just the family of the fighter, but the one who fought him, and the sport around them. 

Jim Campbell’s lettering is clear and flows without any awkwardness. Artist Al Morgan flows between three tone and two tone panels which work for a male-dominated sport and story. The graphics are clear and you can deferiate the characters. The story by Orlando and Johnson is one that is relatable and gives readers a glimpse into the reality of sports. We do get a happy ending in the romantic arena for young Belly. 

I loved Kill A Man. I love the fight sequences and the story. I love a book with a message and a HEA even though that doesn’t always happen in real-life. Orlando, Johnson, and Morgan give us one in Kill A Man. (Aftershockcomics.com, 9781949028478, 3 June 2020, pp. 129). Goodreads. StoryGraph.

I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Randoms: Sapphic Reading Challenge 2021 Update Ep. 302

The Sapphic Reading Challenge is a fun, year-long event for readers of books about women who love women hosted by Author Jae and there’ll be a big giveaway at the end of the year. My original post tells what I first knew and Jae’s post about levels, categories, and more is here.

When:  January 1 to December 31, 2021

I have chosen to do the Dragon and Unicorn levels. This means I have to read two books for every category in Section A.

Section A. Here are the categories for the Sapphic Reading Challenge (Book Penguin, Book Squirrel, Book Bear & Book Dragon levels):

Books I read this past month:

2. Character with an everyday job: The protagonist doesn’t have a glamorous job such as famous actress but an everyday job such as waitress, cashier, mechanic, etc.

D2A

12. Neurodiverse character: A book with a positive and realistic portrayal of a neurodiverse character, e.g., a protagonist who’s on the autism spectrum or has dyslexia, ADHD, dyspraxia, etc.

D12A

17. Character is a teacher or professor: Just what the category name says—a book with a protagonist who’s teaching for a living.

D17A

29. Book starts with the first day of a new job: A book in which the main character starts a new job in the first three chapters.

D29A

42. Set in a country you don’t live in: Choose a book that takes place in a country that you don’t currently live in.

D42A

43. Part of a series: A book that is part of a series. It doesn’t have to be book 1.

D43A

47. Character who isn’t “Hollywood beautiful”: The protagonist doesn’t fit Hollywood beauty standards, e.g., they aren’t thin, toned, young, etc.

D47A

50. Anthology, short story collection, novella: Read a book that is not a novel. It can be an anthology (collection of short story by different authors), a collection of short stories by one author, or a novella (17,500-40,000 words).

D50A

Completed

D7A
D37A

D = Dragon # = Topic A = First Round B = Second Round

  1. Enemies-to-lovers romance: The two main characters start out being enemies or rivals before falling in love.
  2. Character with an everyday job: The protagonist doesn’t have a glamorous job such as famous actress but an everyday job such as waitress, cashier, mechanic, etc.
  3. Return to hometown: A book in which the protagonist returns to her hometown after years away.
  4. Character is a journalist or reporter: The protagonist currently works as a journalist, reporter, or newsperson.
  5. From TLR’s “Best of the Best” list: Read a book from The Lesbian Review’s “best of the best” list.
  6. Only one bed: There’s only one bed, so the two main characters have to share it (although they’re not a couple).
  7. Character with a disability or mental illness: A book with a protagonist who has a physical disability, a chronic illness, or a mental disorder.
  8. Character is a book lover: The protagonist is a writer, librarian, book editor, or an avid reader.
  9. One-night stand to forever: The romance starts with a one-night stand, a fling, or a friends-with-benefits arrangement.
  10. Speculative fiction: A book with strong fantastical, supernatural, or futuristic elements, e.g., science fiction, fantasy, or paranormal fiction.
  11. Ice queen character: The protagonist comes across as cold, aloof, and prickly (at least in the beginning of the book—the ice queen sometimes thaws a bit after falling in love).
  12. Neurodiverse character: A book with a positive and realistic portrayal of a neurodiverse character, e.g., a protagonist who’s on the autism spectrum or has dyslexia, ADHD, dyspraxia, etc.
  13. Longer book: A book of at least 120,000 words. For an audiobook, that means 12 hours or more. Page numbers can be misleading since it depends on the font, the font size, the margins, page size, etc., but if you can’t find the word count, go for books that have 350+ pages.
  14. Character is a medical professional: The protagonist works in health care, e.g., a physician, dentist, nurse, chiropractor, paramedic or EMT, etc.
  15. Genre you don’t usually read: A book from a genre you normally shy away from.
  16. Grumpy & sunshine: A romance in which a grumpy character falls for a character with a sunny, upbeat personality.
  17. Character is a teacher or professor: Just what the category name says—a book with a protagonist who’s teaching for a living.
  18. Coming out later in life: The protagonist is at least 30 years old and comes out as LGBTQIA during the course of the book, either because it took them longer to figure out they aren’t straight or because they were struggling to come out to friends and family.
  19. Historical fiction / historical romance: A novel that takes place at least 25 years in the past.
  20. Nerdy/geeky character: The main character qualifies as a nerd or a geek—meaning they are very enthusiastic about some kind of non-mainstream activity or specialized subject, e.g., a video games, science, technology, comic books, cosplay, collections.
  21. Age gap romance: A romance novel in which one main character is at least 8 years older than the other.
  22. Character of a different ethnicity, culture, or race than you: At least one of the main characters has to be of a different ethnicity, culture, or race than you. Please pick a book that is own voices, meaning the author shares the character’s racial background.
  23. Recommended by a friend: Ask a friend to recommend a book for you to read. Feel free to drop by my Facebook group for readers and ask for a book recommendation there.
  24. Character is a musician: The protagonist is a musician.
  25. Your favorite author’s favorite book: A novel that is one of the favorite books of one of your favorite authors.
  26. Character was adopted/in foster care: The main character was either adopted or grew up in the foster system.
  27. Shy or socially awkward character: The protagonist is shy or uncomfortable/awkward in social situations.
  28. Character rocks a power suit: A book about a main character who’s regularly seen and looking great in a power suit.
  29. Book starts with the first day of a new job: A book in which the main character starts a new job in the first three chapters.
  30. Mystery: A book that revolves around a murder or other crime to be solved.
  31. Friends-to-lovers romance: The two main characters already know each other at the beginning of the book and have been friends for a while, maybe even for years, before falling in love.
  32. Body-positive book: A book that celebrates women of all sizes and shapes, e.g., a plus-sized protagonist.
  33. Disguised or living as a man: The main character is a woman pretending to be a man or an AFAB genderqueer person living her life as a man.
  34. Character works in the food industry: The protagonist is a baker, chef, bartender, waitress, etc.
  35. Re-read a favorite: Re-read a book that is one of your all-time favorites.
  36. Road trip: A book in which the main characters take a trip together. They don’t necessarily have to take a car; any vehicle, including a plane or boat, will do.
  37. Bisexual or pansexual character: A book with a bisexual or pansexual protagonist. Note: A character who has slept with men in the past before she realized she’s a lesbian is a lesbian, not a bisexual/pansexual woman.
  38. Animal on the cover: A book that has some kind of animal on the cover.
  39. Girl-next-door character: The protagonist is the “girl next door” type—sweet, kind, and everybody’s darling.
  40. Adventure in nature: A book with a plot revolving around an outdoor adventure, e.g., hiking, kayaking, rafting, sailing, rock climbing, snow-shoeing, etc.
  41. Mistaken identity: A character is mistaken for someone else for at least a part of the book.
  42. Set in a country you don’t live in: Choose a book that takes place in a country that you don’t currently live in.
  43. Part of a series: A book that is part of a series. It doesn’t have to be book 1.
  44. Character is a business owner: The protagonist owns her own business, which can be a big company or a small business.
  45. New-to-you author: A book by an author from whom you haven’t read anything before.
  46. Set in the 20th century: A book that takes place 1901-2000.
  47. Character who isn’t “Hollywood beautiful”: The protagonist doesn’t fit Hollywood beauty standards, e.g., they aren’t thin, toned, young, etc.
  48. Character works in STEM: The protagonist works in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.
  49. Forced proximity: The two main characters are forced to spend time together, e.g., because they are stranded or snowed in or stuck together for some other reason.
  50. Anthology, short story collection, novella: Read a book that is not a novel. It can be an anthology (collection of short story by different authors), a collection of short stories by one author, or a novella (17,500-40,000 words).

Keep up with the latest reviews and stories on Phoebe’s Randoms by subscribing now!

Section B. Book Unicorn level:

Books I read this past month:

3. Character over 40: At least one of the book’s main characters is over 40.

#U3A

5. Polyamorous relationship: The main character is in intimate, consensual relationships with more than one person.

U5A
U5B

10. Horror: A book that intends to scare you.

U10A

11. Character is a sapphic trans woman: The protagonist is a transgender woman who is attracted to women. Ideally, pick a book written by a trans woman.

U5A

U = Unicorn # = Topic A = First Round B = Second Round

  1. Butch/butch pairing: A book about two butch women falling in love or being in an established relationship with each other.
  2. Time travel: The book’s plot revolves around the protagonist traveling through time.
  3. Character over 40: At least one of the book’s main characters is over 40.
  4. High fantasy: High fantasy is a fantasy story set in a fictional world that is entirely different from our reality (as opposed to low fantasy, which is set in our world with some fantastic elements added).
  5. Polyamorous relationship: The main character is in intimate, consensual relationships with more than one person.
  6. Thriller: A fast-paced novel with high stakes—if the protagonist doesn’t stop the villain, her life or even the fate of the world might be in danger.
  7. Sapphic nonbinary character: The character is nonbinary, genderqueer, or genderfluid person who is attracted to women or female-aligned nonbinary people. Ideally, pick a book written by a nonbinary, genderqueer, or genderfluid author.
  8. Steampunk or gaslamp fantasy: Both are speculative fiction books set in a Victorian-style setting. Gaslamp fantasy adds supernatural or magical elements, while steampunk centers around alternate developments in technology.
  9. Jewish character: The protagonist is Jewish. Ideally, pick a book that was written by a Jewish author.
  10. Horror: A book that intends to scare you.
  11. Character is a sapphic trans woman: The protagonist is a transgender woman who is attracted to women. Ideally, pick a book written by a trans woman.
  12. Dystopian, apocalyptic, or post-apocalyptic fiction: Post-apocalyptic fiction is set in the aftermath of a devastating natural disaster or war that made society as we know it collapse. In an apocalyptic book, we’re in the middle of that disaster happening. Dystopian fiction is set in a future society that is oppressive.

Need suggestions as to what to read?

Jae will post 15 book recommendations for each of the main categories. A new category will be posted once a week, on Thursdays.

Book Unicorn post with book recommendations once a month, usually on Fridays via Jae.

Completed: 13/110

Are you participating?

Randoms: WWW Wednesday at #PhoebesRandoms Ep. 306

Rainbow and fantasy reads are on my table this week.

Photo by Alana Sousa on Pexels.com

WWW Wednesday idea is from MizB at A Daily Rhythm and is currently hosted by Taking on a World of Words. I learned about it from NottsReader.

All you have to do is answer the three following questions:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish?

What do you think you will read next?


I am currently reading: 


Keep up with the latest reviews and stories on Phoebe’s Randoms by subscribing now!

I just finished: 


I think I am reading next: 


What are you reading? Just finished? Or thinking about reading? Comment and let me know!

Review: Silver Moon by Catherine Lundoff

Becca starts menopause and she is experiencing a lot more than heat flashes.

Cover Design: Terry Roy

Synopsis:

Becca Thornton, divorced, middle-aged and trying to embrace a quiet life, discovers that there are still plenty of surprises to be had when her menopause kicks in with bonus lycanthropy. And she’s not the only one. The seemingly peaceful and dull town of Wolf’s Point has its own all-female werewolf pack and Becca has just become its newest member. But it’s not all protecting Wolf’s Point, midnight meetings at the Women’s Club and monthly runs through the woods. There are werewolf hunters in town and now they’ve got Becca and the Wolf’s Point Pack in their sights.

As if that wasn’t enough, Becca’s cute lesbian werewolf neighbor, Erin, is starting to haunt her dreams as well as her doorstep. What’s a newbie werewolf to do, between hot flashes, silver bullets and unexpected transformations? Can Becca overcome her fears and help the werewolves defeat their greatest enemy?

Excerpt: 

Before she knew it, it was the end of her day and there was Erin waiting outside, her long form leaning up against a lamppost like something out of a noir film. All she needed was a fedora and a smoke. Becca squirmed, fantasizing about ducking out the back door for a minute, but there were Pete and Shelly herding her out the front door. 

“You gals have a nice evening,” Pete winked at Erin.

Just like we were on a date or something! Becca bit the words back before they could cross her lips. No point in planting that particular seed where it didn’t need to start growing. Those kinds of rumors could wreak some serious havoc on her nonexistent dating prospects. She bit back a snort and made herself smile up at Erin. “You didn’t have to stop by to meet me, you know. I’m used to walking home alone in the evening.”

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Erin grinned back at her. “But tonight the moon’s almost full and the mountains look even more gorgeous than usual. I thought you might want to take the long way home and check out the scenic route. I even brought tea.” She held out a shiny little coffee mug and a small white paper bag. “And chocolate.”

“You do think of everything.” Becca helped herself to a small piece of the chocolate and gulped down the tea before handing the bag and the cup back. Erin turned away to tuck them back in her pack just as the moon caught Becca’s eye.

She found herself staring up at it like she’d never seen it before. Had it always been so white, so compelling? It pulled at the tides in her blood, rustling under her skin until she was so jumpy she wanted to run and howl. She forced her tone to sound casual. “Let’s walk then.”

They moved briskly, Becca surprising herself by keeping up with Erin’s long strides. There was a breeze blowing tonight, coming in from out of town somewhere. It was full of tantalizing scents, ones that Becca had never noticed before. The wind’s fingers twisted their way through her shoulder-length gray and brown hair, lifting it out of the scrunchy that tried to restrain it until she gave up and yanked it off. She felt like anything might happen tonight. The thought thrummed through her like a drumbeat. 

“Do you run?” Erin’s voice growled from somewhere above her and she shivered as if she was shaking off an old skin. For an answer, she swung her bag back out of the way. Then she lunged forward into a lope that came easily to her. It wasn’t too fast but it was certainly more of a run than she’d attempted in years. She tried not to think about how much her calves would hurt later.

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Erin effortlessly kept pace with her as they charged from downtown onto the more deserted side streets, heading for the river. The bag banging against Becca’s back was a minor irritation, one she could ignore in her newly discovered speed and stamina. She sucked in the wind like a drink and imagined for a moment that the two of them were chasing something, something they had to catch. Her white tennis shoes twinkled below her against the dark pavement as they surged out onto the bridge.

The river rapids thundered beneath its rusting metal trusses and Erin caught Becca’s arm to slow her down and draw her to the rail. Together, they panted out into the moonlit dark in companionable silence. Becca grinned down at the water, its rushing length matching her mood. “Maybe this will be the year that I finally go on that whitewater trip Ed was always going on about.”

“Sounds like a great idea.” Erin said enthusiastically. And just like that, Becca knew who she wanted to go with. She’d been alone too long; it was time that she started making some new friends. She glanced sidelong at Erin, watching her nostrils flare in the breeze. The slight elongation of her face that Becca had seen earlier was back, as was the silver tint in her eyes. 

But now it felt right, like it was the way she should look. She grinned back at Becca, and even the length and sharpness of her teeth seemed to suit her face better than they had back in town. “Thanks for running with me. I needed that.” 

“Rough day crunching the numbers?” Becca remembered that Erin was an accountant, but she always had problems reconciling it with what she’d seen of her neighbor. She looked like she should be herding cattle or something, lariat in hand.

“Always.” Erin threw back her head, tilting her nose up at the moon. For a second, Becca wondered if she was going to howl at it. They both looked up, silent again for a moment. 

Then Becca glanced down at the water and her hands on the railing. Had her fingers always been so long, the backs of her hands so dark, almost as if they were covered with…black fur?

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“Have some more tea,” Erin nudged her hard, as if determined to interrupt her thoughts, and thrust the thermos into Becca’s hands.

When Becca looked at her fingers again a couple of seconds later, they looked normal. “So when you were going through menopause, did you think you were seeing a lot of crazy things, stuff you knew couldn’t be happening?” She asked at last. She tried to make her tone casual, as if she was just making conversation. 

“You kidding?” Erin laughed heartily. “I thought I was seeing Elvis down at the diner every time I had a hot flash!” She appeared to catch a bit of Becca’s mood then and reached out to pat her shoulder reassuringly. “You’ll be fine. It just takes a little adjustment.”

Seeing Elvis wouldn’t be so bad, Becca thought. It was the rest of it that was kind of disturbing.17

Catherine Lundoff has hit on an amazing and true premise for Silver Moon, the first in the “Wolves of Wolf’s Point” series. Turn women into obvious superheroes just as they hit their prime. For those that do not know, women sexually peak at 46. (That is just such a specific age (laugh).)

I love the idea that menopause is not the end all, especially if you live in Wolf’s Point and you are one of the lucky chosen ones to be called to save the world and protect the innocent. The magic does not care where you sit on the rainbow nor what race you are. If you have a pure heart, then more than likely you will get to be a lucky one. 

Unless your Becca and you thought you already had your worst week ever (laugh). Lundoff creates a reluctant heroine who just wants the quiet life. Needless to say, Becca is in for a surprise. Lundoff creates a background for Becca that is similar to a lot of women. Single. Struggling to make it. Working hard, but feeling like they are going nowhere. Their friends were their ex’s friends. They are not close to family members. (This sounds like my life to a “T”.) Unlike me though, Becca has a sexy neighbor across the street to look at or make pretend she is not looking at.

Lundoff throws confusion into the quiet chaos of Becca’s life right away. Becca not only is starting to realize she is starting menopause, she is now having “hallucinations” and she starts to wonder just why she is noticing her lovely female neighbor. The ongoing self-dialogue is hilarious.

Silver Moon is a slow-burn clean and sweet romance. There are no u-hauls in sight (laugh). Sometimes the wait can be delicious and Lundoff makes the waiting kind of hot. I love Becca and Erin together. They are definitely “hubba hubba”.

Then there is the mystery of the why and the how of becoming a werewolf. I love how Lundoff slowly reveals all to Becca and us. Lundoff still gives Becca a choice too, though the natural pull to save people is strong in Becca.

“These were friends and neighbors. Of course they weren’t going to eat her ex-husband.”

Loc. 1099

I think I mentioned the wealth of diversity in the pack and the book. Kudos to Lundoff for including many non-whites in the story. I am trying to remember if there are any disabled characters and all I can remember is that if you get to a point when you can’t perform as a werewolf anymore you can become an elder and share your knowledge. (No ageism here folks).

Silver Moon is just the beginning for Becca and I cannot wait to see how she grows as a person. Plus Lundoff seems to like to cause trouble so I am looking forward to watching the ladies kick a little butt. Now is a great time to read this book as the second book is due to be released next month. 

I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Amazon Affiliate Notice is on Front Page!

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Next in the “Wolves of Wolf’s Point” series: Blood Moon is set for release 15 March 2021. 

Further Details:
Publisher: Queen of Swords Press, 978-0-9981082-5-4, 2017 (Orig. pub. 2012)
Series: Wolves of Wolf’s Point #1; Settings: Wolf’s Point
Pages: 218; Sex: PG
SC: Native American, Asian

Promotion materials provided by Queen of Swords Press.

Randoms: Six For Sunday at #PhoebesRandoms Ep. 304

This week we are seeing RED!

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Six for Sunday is a weekly book tag created in June 2017 by Steph at A Little But a Lot. I heard of it via Red-Haired Reads.

February is about: Read It And Weep!

This week’s topic is books with red covers:


red cover
red cover

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Randoms: Coffee and Books…or is it Books and Coffee??? Ep. 304

I have so much to talk about! Let’s start with the all important: what is new on my #TBR list!

These books just came out this week and I have already added them to my #TBR list…and some I have already read.

Goodreads Reading Goal: 39/300
Goodreads #TBR: 5,089 (6/4,487 (Orig #))

In my defense as to why the #TBR list got bigger? It is because of the #SapphicReading Challenge and adding books from specific topics.


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Reading Challenge updates:

30/30 Walking In A Winter Wonderland (Weekly update) ends 14 Mar 2021
I just have the bonus round now to go: 3/12

3/52 Around the Country M/M Reading Challenge (Monthly update) ends 31 Dec 2021
I don’t know why this one is so slow going…things that make you go “hmmmm”.

0/12 Back to the Classics (Monthly update) ends 31 Dec 2021
I picked out my books, now I just need to find time.

9/115 F/F Sapphic Reading Challenge (Monthly update) ends 31 Dec 2021
The year round challenges seem to be moving like molasses.

Books coming out next week that I cannot wait to read!


Series Update:

I started the “Angelbound: Lincoln” series as Baculum by Christina Bauer has come out.

I started “The Aspects” series by L.C. Mawson. The series is a LGBTQ science fiction young adult superhero wonderland. It is filled with diversity from mental health, to color, to sexuality, and identity.

I also need to find time to write some series reviews…time that all precious commodity.

Books on the horizon that I have already added to my #TBR:


Book of the week:

I read a lot of really good books this week. This is a really tough call, but I am going to have to go with:

What are you looking forward to reading?

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