DNF Review: Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

Little & Lion

Little & Lion by Brand Colbert

August 8, 2017- Little Brown

327 pg. – Fiction, Young Adult, contemporary

Purpose: Random TBR

Source: Library

If you want to read what this story is about, click here.

There will be spoilers!!!

Okay, so this is a book that I have been wanting to read since it came out. In fact, when random.org picked this for me to read this round I was super excited. It wasn’t the first book that I picked up only because I had to wait for the library hold to come through.

This isn’t a bad book, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. And I have no interest in what it is. I thought that this was supposed to be about a brother and sister learning to deal with the brother’s mental illness.  And while there is that, it is mostly about the girl, Little discovering her sexuality. This is YA so there is drama and angst, and I’m just not interested in reading about it.

The writing was fine, and even pulled me in. But there’s a love triangle (possibly square) and I hate love triangles.  Especially ones that I don’t think are done right.  Little (Suzette) comes back from her boarding school (she was sent there so her parents could focus on her brother’s developing mental illness without having to deal with her. <Another issue that I have with the book.) where she was in a relationship with her roommate. I’m not sure if it’s over or on pause since she is spending the summer at home. She doesn’t go back so I’m thinking something happened, but she keeps bringing Iris up so I’m thinking that maybe it’s not completely over.  Her first day back she sees her old friend Emil, who is attractive and she would date except it’s what her parents have wanted to happen for so long.  Then she goes to a welcome home party and finds a girl attractive there. Based on the synopsis,  Little falls for the girl but so does Lion.

I particularly didn’t like this love triangle because it’s messy. She obviously didn’t resolve everything with Iris. She’s interested in Emil, and he’s interested in her. The only reason that they didn’t get together was because it’s something that their parents have wanted (and that’s her reasoning not his). And the girl? Well, being interested in the same person as your brother is awkward at best.

To be honest, I didn’t make it very far into this book. I am assuming that a love triangle develops with Suzette (but hey maybe one develops with the girl between Little & Lion). And hey maybe I’m wrong (If I am, please tell me so I can go back to it). But, I’m also a little concerned that Little believes it’s up to her to save her brother. He is bipolar not dying.  And did I mention that I think that their sibling relationship reads a little weird?

I didn’t want to wade through a messy love triangle just to get to sibling relationship story. So this was a pass for me.



Guess What’s Out?!!

This is another surprise that made my day. I have been wanting to read something by this author for a while. But he has been writing novels that is connected to the same world for the longest time, so it’s a lot of books to catch up. But he has a brand new series and it’s the perfect place to start (and motivation to read his backlist of books?) What should appear on my porch? Thanks to Harper Voyager….

First book in a  new series. 5 years after the final book in previous series. We have:

King of Ashes (Firemane, #1)

King of Ashes by Raymond E. Feist 

The War of Five Crowns #1

May 8, 2018 – Harper Voyager

From Goodreads:

The first volume in legendary master and New York Times bestselling author Raymond E. Feist’s epic heroic fantasy series, The Firemane Saga—an electrifying tale of two young men whose choices will determine a world’s destiny.

For centuries, the five greatest kingdoms of North and South Tembria, twin continents on the world of Garn, have coexisted in peace. But the balance of power is destroyed when four of the kingdoms violate an ancient covenant and betray the fifth: Ithrace, the Kingdom of Flames, ruled by Steveren Langene, known as “the Firemane” for his brilliant red hair. As war engulfs the world, Ithrace is destroyed and the Greater Realms of Tembria are thrust into a dangerous struggle for supremacy.
As a Free Lord, Baron Daylon Dumarch owes allegiance to no king. When an abandoned infant is found hidden in Daylon’s pavilion, he realizes that the child must be the missing heir of the slain Steveren. The boy is valuable—and vulnerable. A cunning and patient man, Daylon decides to keep the baby’s existence secret, and sends him to be raised on the Island of Coaltachin, home of the so-called Kingdom of Night, where the powerful and lethal Nocusara, the “Hidden Warriors,” legendary assassins and spies, are trained.

Years later, another orphan of mysterious provenance, a young man named Declan, earns his Masters rank as a weapons smith. Blessed with intelligence and skill, he unlocks the secret to forging King’s Steel, the apex of a weapon maker’s trade known by very few. Yet this precious knowledge is also deadly, and Declan is forced to leave his home to safeguard his life. Landing in Lord Daylon’s provinces, he hopes to start anew.

Soon, the two young men—an unknowing rightful heir to a throne and a brilliantly talented young swordsmith—will discover that their fates, and that of Garn, are entwined. The legendary, long-ago War of Betrayal has never truly ended . . . and they must discover the secret of who truly threatens their world. 


I do have plans to read this one this month, so I will post a review as soon as I finish. But until then, you can get your copy on May 8th!


Always Shine!


DNF Review: Upgrade by Rana Florida

Upgrade: Taking Your Work and Life from Ordinary to Extraordinary

Upgrade by Rana Florida 

Taking Your Work and Life from Ordinary to Extraordinary

September 4, 2013 – McGraw-Hill Education

256 pages -Nonfiction, Adult, Self-Help

Purpose: Review

Source: Publisher, Netgalley

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Sometimes you come across a book that you read at the completely right time in your life, making you enjoy it more than you may have at any other time in your life. And sometimes just the opposite happens, you read a good book at the wrong time and you don’t get out of it what you could have. And I think that the latter is what happened with this book. Had I read it when I was first approved for this title, I may have taken everything that was offered in this book and ran with it. Instead, there wasn’t enough her to hold my attention.

To be fair, I didn’t make it very far into this book. I didn’t finish the first chapter, had it been available on audio, I may have continued. I enjoyed what I did read from the first chapter. I did get some things out of it, in fact I had a conversation with a friend about how I felt inspired. But, then it kept going. I think the first chapter had 54 pages in it and I was done after around page 30. It just went past the point where I felt it made sense.  I was interested in the rest of the book, but not enough to power through, especially if it was filled with extra long chapters that just kept hammering home the point. Maybe I am wrong and there is more to it than that.  But I didn’t stick around to find out.



Always Shine!

Change is coming!

Every so often, I have to change things up. Most of the time, the changes are small and are easily integrated into my blog (or easily removed). And if you have been with me from the beginning, then you  know that this was a blog of a different name. It is that time again- the blog name will be changing.  The Email address will remain the same. The books reviewed will also be changing.

I also review books over on another blog: Women of Science Fiction and Fantasy. I started this blog, because one of my favorite things to read is Science fiction and fantasy written by women.   It is a growing section in the book world, but I wanted to do my part in bring attention to this section. My other passion would be diverse books. And that was before everyone jumped onto the idea bandwagon. I didn’t change the focus of this blog, because I thought that I would be able to highlight diverse books along with all of the other books that caught my attention. Plus I was trying to catch up on my backlog of review titles.  I thought that maybe I would switch once I caught up.

But, I don’t want to wait. I want to switch now (or soon). So this is what is going to happen.

I am going to come up with a name for the new blog and switch to that.  Then I will work on building the review base up for this blog, as I am doing with the other blog. I will be continue posting all of my non-wosff reviews here, until everything is switched. After that, those reviews will only be posted on my Goodreads account.

What books will be reviewed here?

This will still be a catch all type of blog, reviews of everything from romance to middle grade to nonfiction, science fiction and horror ( as long as it’s not something that would be posted on WOSFF). The only difference will be that the books will be written by people of color, as in nonwhite authors. While there are books written by white authors that contain nonwhite main characters, I will not review them here. This will focus on Authors of Color to keep the focus as narrow as possible. But if you are interested in everything that I read, you are always welcome (and encouraged) to follow me on Goodreads.

What about the Random.org selected TBR?

I am still going to read those books. If they were review books they will be posted on Goodreads, here (until this blog is switched over) and if it works I will continue using it.

What about the quarterly round ups and goal check in?

I don’t know. I will work that out.

What will you be doing here?

Since I will not be neglecting review books for the sake of the switch, and I won’t be able to read everything all at once. I will do some book promos and discussion posts throughout the month.

What if I don’t want to know about books from nonwhite authors?

Then this is not the blog for you  anymore. I am sorry to see you go, but you’re welcome back anytime.

Can I recommend books to you?

Yes! I am open for recommendations and willing to give any book a chance. As long as you don’t expect me to read and review it immediately, I will be glad to take it in.  Is there a book out there that you’re interested in learning about but not sure if you want to read it? Let me know, if I can’t review it in time, then maybe I can gather some buzz about it and post it. (That may be a monthly feature after the switch!)

That’s about all I know for now. I don’t have an exact date for the switch, there are still some details to work out. But when I know, so will you. And no, I will not be disappearing until I make the switch.  I have a few posts coming up for this blog. I hope you stay with me!


Always Shine!

Randomly Selected TBR

As you all know, one of my goals was to read the books off of my bookshelf this month. And as some of you may have guessed, this has become rather difficult.  In an attempt to not buy as many books, I have been using my library. But this has not been helpful in getting my own books read. So I have returned all of my library books, and have decided to use my library for: graphic novels and elementary size kid books, for the books that are selected from Goodreads and Netgalley selections that I no longer have access too (will explain below).

How my reading will look from this point forward:

I can pick up whatever book that I own as I want, without worrying about if it is a book that I recently bought or not. But, I will also work in the books randomly selected by random.org.

At first, I had random.org pick numbers from my Goodreads shelf and the list of books purchased this year. Those picks were:


Little & Lion Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert  

2018 Book Haul Pick:

 Magic Forest (Fairy Unicorns #1) by Zanna Davidson *Click on the link to purchase*

I was so excited about these picks, especially Little & Lion. Little & Lion has been on my Goodreads TBR since before it came out, but along with most books it became buried in the list.  Magic Forest is one that I knew that I would get to and it wouldn’t take very long to get through it since it something that I bought for my kids.

But, I didn’t stop there, I couldn’t. I also wanted to work through the backlog of Netgalley titles. I know that I have received a lot of amazing books for review that I just didn’t have time to get or that I forgot about (For example I discovered that I have a review copy of Dark Alchemy by Laura Bickle. This is a book that I’ve checked out from my library multiple times but unable to read it before someone else requests.) So I used to Random.org to select 3 current Netgalley titles and 3 old titles.  They are:

Current Netgalley:

The Wolf (Under the Northern Sky #1) The Wolf by Leo Carew

Jar of Hearts Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

SINdicate (The New Lyons Sequence #2) Sindicate by J.T. Nichols  ( I also have the first book, yay!)

Old Netgalley:
Enter, Night 
Enter Night by Michael Rowe

Upgrade: Taking Your Work and Life from Ordinary to Extraordinary Upgrade by Rana Florida 

Kindness for Weakness Kindness for Weakness by Shawn Goodman 

Probably the only book that I have lost interest in would be Upgrade by Rana Florida, but I will still give it a try.

There was one book that was selected that I no longer had a digital copy of and couldn’t borrow from my library, Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen.  If I come across it for fairly cheap I may review it then, but for now I marked it as a pass.

We will see how it goes, and if I have luck with it, I will use it to pick out my reads from my read and rehome shelf. But, for now I am excited to pick up what was selected.

Always Shine!

Confessions: My Book Addictions

Most of you, if you are an avid reader, will be able to relate. This year one of my main reading goals was to read the books off of my own shelf. There are books that I have wanted to read, but have put off for a variety of reasons. One of the weirdest reasons would be that I know that I am going to enjoy it and I own so I focus on other books. Yeah, saying it out loud doesn’t make sense to me.

Another project that I have started this year is to curate my library, as well as my kids’ library. My son is three, and my daughter just recently turned one. So they do not have a defined taste in books. And while I will never tell them that they can’t or shouldn’t read books, there are some that I definitely want them to read or to read aloud to them.

In my head, what this looked like was me reading through the books on our bookshelves and deciding if it is a book that I wanted to keep or re-home. If there was a book that was recommended to me, or that I came across and wanted to evaluate it then I would simply check it out from my library. Then I would make a list of the books that I wanted to add to our libraries and get them during book sales or at the end of the year. I wouldn’t actively buy books unless it was for a series that I already owned and was currently reading, or unless it was one of the few authors/collections that I knew I wanted.

But, what really happened? I had overwhelming stacks of library books, but not the time or reading speed for it to make sense to have so many books out.  I have a list of every book that I’ve purchased or was given, with the expectation that they would be read within 60 days or… they wouldn’t be. Some consequence, right?

So, I have problem and I don’t know how to solve it. Yes I could bargain with myself, making a deal that covers reading as well as buying.  But, that hasn’t worked in the past. And if I don’t have the money to buy the books then I get them from my library. It’s free, and the only downside is that library books keeps me from reading my own books.

So I am putting this out here in the interweb, revealing my stats. For accountability. Or Book-buying-shame. I don’t exactly know. But, I hope that by the end of the year that I will have gotten it together, and if nothing else I wish to have read every book that I purchased this year-this year.


Total Books Hauled: 36

Purchased: 27

Free: 9


Total Books Hauled: 34

Purchased: 18

Free: 16


Total Books Hauled:42
Purchased: 36

Free: 6

Total Books Hauled: 112

And that is just the first quarter. In my defense, I didn’t pay full price for any of these books. Half Price and Thriftbooks are both my best friends and worst enemies at this point.  I didn’t realize I had bought this many books, but, I guess that means I have a lot of reading to do.

Suggestions are always welcome.

Always Shine!

March Book Round Up

Around the Way Girl Around the Way Girl By Taraji P. Henson

This is another celebrity memoir that I listened to on audio.   I am also a fan of Henson, so I enjoyed listening to this one.  While Union’s memoir was funny and real, Henson’s was more inspirational.  While they shared some similarities, and both end up being really big Hollywood favorites, the middle -the meat-of their stories are vastly different.  Henson’s was more like sitting with an older cousin. I enjoyed it, and will definitely check out some of her older movies. She is so funny.

The Knight (The Patrick Bowers Files, #3) The Knight by Steven James 

I love reading about Bowers and the cases that he works on. He brings so much more to the table. The entire cast of characters allows deep questions to be explored, mainly because they are exploring them themselves. I really enjoyed this one, as I suspected I would. Once again, Patrick must confront the dark side of himself but this time I think he finds a truer response. Again, Tess has to deal with her own things, but together they are able to find firmer ground as a family. The villain in this installment is deliciously evil, and not one easily suspected. I can’t wait to read the next one.

The Rithmatist (Rithmatist, #1) The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

Okay so this is my second Sanderson book. It wasn’t a complete fail, wish I would have borrowed it from the library instead of buying it though. I have a copy but I listened to the audio book, as was the same with Steelheart. I enjoyed this audiobook better than Steelheart, and I found most of my issues to be with the story itself more so than the audio. (The next book I plan on reading to see if my issue is with the story and not the audio). Apparently I am in a rambly mood so I hope that makes sense. Anyway, I think that this was an interesting idea. While I can’t say that I liked any of the characters. Melody was annoying with her whiny melodramatic self. Joel was obsessive and clumsy and didn’t really grow as much as I would have liked. Finch, was a historian turned professor, that appears to be be more absentminded than is reasonable. I think that if this was a stand alone novel, I would have enjoyed it a lot more. But as it stands, this is not a standalone. There are so many things left unanswered. The ending says that there is more to the story. Am I going to come back for the next installment? I don’t know, it depends on how long it takes to come out. This was originally published in 2013, the sequel was scheduled for 2017 and it’s still not out.
If you don’t like unresolved stories than this may not be the book for you. But there’s mystery, bravery and a plot twist that I saw coming a mile away and one that I didn’t, but in hindsight I should have.

Where Hope Begins Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

I read and enjoyed another West novel, but this was a bit disappointing. I didn’t like the ending, or agree with what brought them there. I thought it was a bit predictable, and believe one plot point happened out of convenience.

Touched by an Alien (Katherine "Kitty" Katt, #1) Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch 

I really enjoyed this book. Some books come to you at the perfect time and you can get the maximum enjoyment. I saw this at Half Price and was going to buy it but decided to check it out from the library instead. When I finally checked it out, I kept it for so long I thought that I was going to have to return it unread, and then decided to read the first chapter. I was hooked and flew through this book. If life hadn’t demanded my attention, I am pretty sure I would have finished within a couple of hours. This book with hilarious, I was constantly laughing. The characters were interesting. and things didn’t play out as expected. Yes, the aliens knew what was going on, but they were standing in their own way. The human woman comes to the rescue. One of the biggest things that I enjoyed about this story is that it’s a complete story. Even though there is 15 or 16 books in this series, the whole story was told. I appreciated that.

Storm Front (Montana Rescue #5) Storm Front by Susan May Warren 

Man, what is it with authors not being consistently enjoyable? This is another author whom I’ve read before but was disappointed with later. This was way to dramatic for me, to many relationships to focus on, too much back and forth, will they won’t they.

All American Boys All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

I listened to this one on audio, and I am glad that I did. It is told in two different perspectives. Since it is written by two authors, I am assuming each took on one of the characters, This works since the perspectives are so different and come from different world experiences. It was nice to get a guy’s point of view on the topic, and one from the victim and one from the witness. Very well written.

Last of the Sandwalkers Last of the Sandwalkers by Jay Hosler 

Oh my! This is a graphic novel about a beetle that is essentially an anthropologist. This was an extremely fun read. A great way to see science in a different light.  I plan on including this in my home school curriculum, and will be checking out more from this author.

Stay tuned for my Children’s book round up, there’s quite a few coming.


Always Shine!