Category: Wrap Ups

Wrap Up | June 2019

I really felt like I read only 5 or 6 books in June but nope. I read 13! I would prefer to break up a wrap up over 5 books into two posts but I wasn’t paying attention 😅

I had a few let downs this month and one book I decided to drop.

Fate's Edge The Edge 3 Ilona Andrews Elaine Howlin Bookstagram

Fate’s Edge (The Edge #3) by Ilona Andrews ★★★★☆

Fate's Edge (The Edge, #3)

This is an urban fantasy series set in the Edge which is a realm between the Broken (our world) and the Weird (mirror to our world but with magic). The series is meant to be paranormal romance and definitely starts out that way but by this book I think it’s more like urban fantasy with more focus on the suspense plot than the relationship.

Taken as urban fantasy it’s a brilliant book but taken as paranormal romance it doesn’t quite work.

A Bogie in the Boat (Linx & Bogie #2) by Elizabeth Hunter ★★★★★

A Bogie in the Boat (Linx & Bogie, #2)

I really hope Hunter will write more and maybe longer books in this series. So far the stories have been pretty short but really engaging. It’s a buddy story about a woman and the ghost of a detective who constantly tries to get her to solve mysteries.

The Ice Princess (Princes Trilogy #3.5) by Elizabeth Hoyt ★★★★☆

The Ice Princess (Princes Trilogy, #3.5)

Super short story at the end of Hoyt’s Princes trilogy about the madam of Aphrodite’s Grotto. I’m generally not a fan of short romances but since I already had an idea of Carol’s character from previous books I actually enjoyed this one.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang Elaine Howlin Bookstagram

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient #1) by Helen Hoang ★★★★★

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1)

Oh my gosh, I loved this!! I was really surprised by this book! I didn’t expect to like about about a male escort and I also was not prepared for how steamy this book is! I totally judged it by it’s cover and expected a sweet and silly romantic comedy style story. It is certainly sweet but not at all silly.

The Kiss Quotient is available on kindle unlimited

Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers #1) by Penny Reid ★★★★★

Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers, #1)

Loved this and another surprise for me for pretty much the same reasons as above. I expected a homey small town story but there’s a slight edge to it that pushes it out of that category. We follow Duane Winston who has had the hots for Jessica for most of his life but she’s mad for his identical twin brother.

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The Taken (Celestial Blues #1) by Vicki Petersson ★★★★☆

The Taken (Celestial Blues, #1)

I stumbled across this book on Scribd and listened to it based solely on the cover. I love the rockabilly elements from the main female character. This is a noir urban fantasy mystery series (yes please!) following rockabilly reporter Kit and ex-P.I. fallen angel Griffin as they look for her friends murderer.

Last Kiss Goodnight (Otherworld Assassin #1) by Gena Showalter ★★★☆☆

Last Kiss Goodnight: An Otherworld Assassin Novel

I’m in two minds about this book. I think the world was well built and interesting but the characters were pretty one-shot and a little generic. Another small issue I have is that the main female character is deaf but I think the way her deafness is portrayed wasn’t very realistic (though I can’t say that for sure). Last Kiss Goodnight is a sci-fi romance about an alien zoo in a circus run under the iron fist of Vika’s father when Soloman is captured and put on display in the zoo.

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje ★★★★★

The English Patient

I adored this but it is a bit of a heavy read so I really took my time with it. I’ve been reading it since January and finished it up this month. I’m really happy I took my time with it and soaked in what the book had to say. The English Patient centers around four people in a villa in Italy at the end of World War 2 coming to terms with what has happened to them over the past few years.

Hyde & Seek (Hyde #1) by Layla Frost ★☆☆☆☆

Hyde and Seek (Hyde #1)

Say hello to my only one star read this year (so far). I only finished it because I wanted to complete a square on the Romanceopoly board. I don’t want to get really negative about this book because a lot of people seem to love it (I’m in the minority) but this really wasn’t for me. None of the characters felt realistic and the main female character was bordering on a Mary-Sue. She seems to have Beyonce’s figure (but feels she’s too curvy), smells like cake and every man and his uncle wants to bang her because she listens to metal and has tattoos.

Hyde & Seek is available on kindle unlimited

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey Elaine Howlin Bookstagram

Fix Her Up (Hot and Hammered #1) by Tessa Bailey ★★★☆☆

Fix Her Up (Hot and Hammered, #1)

This book has been hyped quite a bit recently among romance readers and I’m kind of in two minds on whether it deserves it or not. On one hand I enjoyed it and on the other it featured tropes that I’m sick of. A lot of people have been commenting on it’s steaminess level as well but I didn’t think it was that high (read The Professional by Kresley Cole if you want a super steamy book). We follow Travis who has just returned home after an injury has ends his pro baseball career and Georgette, a professional clown, who has been on love with him her whole life. They both want to change their image so decide to fake date for a bit.

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough ★★★★☆

The Thorn Birds

This was so close to being a 5 star read but some things really annoyed me around the middle of the book. Mostly character actions so we won’t get into it 😉 The story was a wonderful sweeping saga following the Cleary family but mainly the daughter Meggie. There are a lot of interesting looks at gender in the book especially perceived gender roles and how the people are influenced by their religion.

The Raven Prince (Princes #1) by Elizabeth Hoyt ★★★★★

The Raven Prince

One of my absolute favourite historical romances!! There are strong Beauty and the Beast themes in this one but it isn’t really a retelling. I LOVE books with Beauty and the Beast themes 💜

The Leopard Prince (Princes #2) by Elizabeth Hoyt ★★★★★

The Leopard Prince (Princes Trilogy, #2)

This one has the most interesting subplot following along the romance. It’s a murder mystery, SHEEP MURDER!! It’s a lot of fun to read and unravel with the characters while they fall in lurve.

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An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

An Unkindness of Magicians

I love the premise of this book but when listening to the audiobook I found it to be a bit of a mess. I decided to stop listening around halfway and I’m going to try the print book at some point and see if I follow it better.

May Wrap Up | Part Two

I seriously upped my reading game this month! I read a total of 13 books which blows my usual 5 or 6 right out of the water! I got through so many because I read a few short books and listened to more audiobooks than usual. It was a fantastic reading month nothing I read was below 4 stars. What are the chances of that?!

If you’re not familiar with my wrap ups, I like to just give a mini review with my thoughts on the book and not go into too much detail about the book. I do full reviews of each book as well later and give a bit more detail in my video wrap ups.

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2) by Cassandra Clare ★★★★★

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)

Young Adult, Steampunk, Fantasy

This one was so good! Usually the middle book in a trilogy slows things down a bit but this one picked up speed instead. So much happens in this book that if you enjoyed the first one you should love this one.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald ★★★★☆

The Great Gatsby

Classics

Sometimes I feel like with classics there’s no point in saying anything about them cause pretty much everyone is familiar with them in some way. This book especially since it was required reading for a lot of people in school. Anyway, I found this story very interesting. Gatsby and Nick are two fascinating parallels to pair together. Nick seems to barely feel whereas Gatsby feels intensely and obsessively.

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter ★★★★★

The Bloody Chamber

Short Stories, Feminism

Very interesting collection of stories inspired by fairy tales. Some of them are pretty disturbing with heavy sexual and violent themes. I really want to do a deeper reading and check out some analysis of them online.

The Mystery Woman (Ladies of Lantern Street #2) by Amanda Quick ★★★★☆

The Mystery Woman

Historical Romance, Paranormal

This was really good. A lot of focus on the story instead of just the main characters hooking up. It was kind of like a paranormal historical romance adventure. That’s a lot of genres for one book! Paranormal is a favourite of mine but I think I would have preferred this book without it. I’m probably just not used to it in historical’s though.

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Real Murders (Aurora Teagarden #1) by Charlaine Harris ★★★★★

Real Murders (An Aurora Teagarden Mystery #1)

Cosy Mystery

This one surprised me! I loved Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books but these are nothing like them. No paranormal activity and it’s definitely PG. I really enjoyed it though. Aurora is a librarian and member of the Real Murders club who like to discuss past murder cases. On the night Aurora is to talk at the club one of the members is found dead.

A Bone To Pick Aurora Teagarden by Charlaine Harris Elaine Howlin Bookstagram

A Bone to Pick (Aurora Teagarden #2) by Charlaine Harris ★★★★☆

A Bone to Pick (Aurora Teagarden Mystery, #2)

Cosy Mystery

Continuing on with the Aurora series, Aurora finds a skull in her new home and is tasked with discovering how it got there and where the rest of the skeleton is. There are a lot of changes happening in this one…. pretty much everything I’d adjusted to about Aurora and her life from the first book gets switched up so it was a little bit jarring but still enjoyable.

Three Bedrooms, One Corpse (Aurora Teagarden #3) by Charlaine Harris ★★★★☆

Three Bedrooms, One Corpse (Aurora Teagarden, #3)

Cosy Mystery

This one I didn’t enjoy this one as much but I think that was because I was getting tired of listening to audiobooks. The mystery in this one has been the best so far.

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I hope you all had a wonderful May and that June will be just as good.

Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

May Wrap Up | Part One

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I had a lot of catching up to do to get back on track for my reading goal so I read a bit more than normal this month. I’m now two books ahead of schedule 🎉

This has been an urban fantasy and paranormal heavy month because of the Vampire Wars reading challenge but those genres are pretty much my bread and butter so it’s been a very good month.

Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress #1) by Jeaniene Frost ★★★★★

Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1)

Urban Fantasy, Romance

This was my third time reading this book. The first time I hated it and the second I really enjoyed it. I decided to give the audiobook a go this time round and really enjoyed that too. I have no idea why I hated it so much the first time…

The series follows Cat and Bones, a dhampire and a vampire who hunt vampires.

Reap the Wind (Cassie Palmer #7) by Karen Chance ★★★★☆

Reap the Wind (Cassandra Palmer, #7)

Urban Fantasy

My favourite series 💜 I’ve been rereading this in anticipation of Brave the Tempest coming out this year. The series has an overarching storyline so I can’t tell you about what happens in this one but the series follows Cassie, a time-hopping clairvoyant during a war between supernatural factions. It’s a fast-paced and action packed series.

Ride the Storm (Cassie Palmer #8) by Karen Chance ★★★★★

Ride the Storm (Cassandra Palmer, #8)

Urban Fantasy

I loved this book! I’m so glad I reread it before starting Brave the Tempest because there were some introductions in this book that I had actually forgotten about. This one isn’t as action focused as Reap the Wind but it’s better for it.

One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost Elaine Howlin Book Blog

One Foot in the Grave (Night Huntress #2) by Jeaniene Frost ★★★★☆

One Foot in the Grave (Night Huntress, #2)

Urban Fantasy, Romance

I decided I might as well listen to the second book in the series after listening to the first. The audiobooks are pretty good for this one though the narrators British accent for Bones grates on me a little bit.

Pleasure of the Dark Prince (Immortals After Dark #9) by Kresley Cole ★★★★★

Pleasure of a Dark Prince (Immortals After Dark, #9)

Paranormal Romance

One of my favourites from this series 💜 I absolutely love their journey on the rubber boom ship in the Amazon. It adds an element of natural magic and mystery to a paranormal story.

Brave the Tempest by Karen Chance Elaine Howlin Book Blog

Brave the Tempest (Cassie Palmer #9) by Karen Chance ★★★★★

Brave the Tempest (Cassandra Palmer, #9)

Urban Fantasy, Romance

I was so excited to get this ARC from NetGalley! I absolutely loved it! It felt like a book written specially for fans of the series, connecting events from much earlier books and just being amazing! Due for release July 30th, 2019.

Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After #1) by Tessa Dare ★★★★★

Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After, #1)

Historical Romance

Humorous and sweet. A good one for fans of romances inspired by Beauty and the Beast

A Ghost in the Glamour: A Linx & Bogie Story by Elizabeth Hunter ★★★★☆

A Ghost in the Glamour: A Linx & Bogie story

Paranormal, Mystery

A very short book but very well written. Hunter is great at writing fantasy/paranormal that focuses mainly on a good story instead of romance or action.

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April Wrap Up

“You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged; but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever.”

– Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
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Tempting the Best Man by Jennifer L Armentraut Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

Tempting the Best Man (Gamble Brothers #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout ★★★☆☆

This is a short romance about Madison Daniels who has been in love with her brother’s best friend Chase her whole life. Circumstances at her brother’s wedding put them in very close quarters blurring the line between friendship and love. It’s a nice quick story but nothing fantastic.

No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole Immortals After Dark Elaine Howlin Book Blog

No Rest for the Wicked (Immortals After Dark #3) by Kresley Cole ★★★★★

This is one of my favourites from the series. I’d nearly say my favourite but it’s very hard to choose between the books (there are 18 so far). I love the supernatural Amazing Race in the story and I love Sebastian and Kaderin’s characters.

Kaderin is a valkyrie dispatched to kill vampire Sebastian but that doesn’t quite go as planned. She runs from him when he chases her through a supernatural version of the Amazing Race for a prize that would grant both of their deepest wishes.

White Trash Zombie Apocalypse by Diana Rowland Elaine Howlin Book Blog

White Trash Zombie Apocalypse (White Trash Zombie #3) by Diana Rowland ★★★★★

Such a fun urban fantasy series!! The audiobook narrator is one of the best I’ve heard. It’s easy to get a shitty narrator that ruins the book but here she really adds another dimension to the story. She brings Angel to life I think.

White Trash Zombie follows Angel Crawford who is basically white trash. She’s a high school dropout with a drug problem and a shitty boyfriend when she’s turned into a zombie and things start looking up.

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Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6) by J.K. Rowling ★★★★★

What to say about this book…. Harry Potter must be the most discussed series in the book community so there’s no need to talk about it anymore really. All I’ll say is I love this one for all of the character growth and the development of Voldermort’s character.

Clockwork Angel The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare Elaine Howlin Book Blog

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare ★★★★☆

I had really high expectations for this one and it didn’t exactly fall short of them I just found it to be very predictable. I picked up on all the hints of what was coming so reading the ending felt like just going through the motions but it was still a very enjoyable book.

The Infernal Devices is set in the same world as The Mortal Instruments but in 18th century London. There are one or two familiar characters but we mainly follow Tessa Gray who has arrived from New York to join her brother. Tessa soon discoveries she is something more than human and her life is irrevocably changed.

Alpha and Omega (Alpha & Omega #1) by Patricia Briggs ★★★★★

I spotted the audiobook of this novella on Scribd and since I’m about 4 books behind my reading goal I decided to give it a listen. I read this a few years ago and loved it and I loved it again listening to the audiobook. It’s much more paranormal romance than urban fantasy like Briggs’ other series Mercy Thompson is but it is connected to that series.

In this novella we are introduced to Anna who believes herself to be a submissive werewolf that has been abused by her pack. Charles (from the mercy Thompson series) is sent by the marrock to investigate her pack and reveals her true nature to her.

O.W.L.’s Magical Readathon Wrap Up

The O.W.L.’s Magical Readathon is hosted by Book Roast on YouTube. It’s based on the exams the students take in Hogwarts from the Harry Potter books.

Basically, you choose a career path and complete the tasks assigned to it in the booklet. I chose Journalist because there was only 3 tasks assigned and I figured I could manage that with everything else I had going on.

My subjects were History of Magic, Muggle Studies and one more of my choosing which was Potions.

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🦉 History of Magic – Published at least 10 Years Ago

For this one I read No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole which was released in 2006. I LOVE this book! This was actually a reread which I’m not sure is allowed but I’ve done it now anyway 😊

No Rest for the Wicked (Immortals After Dark #3) by Kresley Cole

No Rest for the Wicked (Immortals After Dark, #3)

In this next installment in the Immortals After Dark SeriesUSA Today Bestselling author Kresley Cole delivers a scorching tale about a forbidding vampire who lives in the shadows and the beautiful assassin who hunts him there. 

A vampire soldier weary of life…

Centuries ago, Sebastian Wroth was turned into a vampire—a nightmare in his mind—against his will. Burdened with hatred and alone for ages, he sees little reason to live. Until an exquisite, fey creature comes to kill him, inadvertently saving him instead.

A valkyrie assassin dispatched to destroy him…

When Kaderin the Cold Hearted lost her two beloved sisters to a vampire attack long ago, a benevolent force deadened her sorrow—accidentally extinguishing all of her emotions. Yet whenever she encounters Sebastian, her feelings—particularly lust—emerge multiplied. For the first time, she’s unable to complete a kill.

Competitors in a legendary hunt…

The prize of the month-long contest is powerful enough to change history, and Kaderin will do anything to win it for her sisters. Wanting only to win her, forever, Sebastian competes as well, taking every opportunity—as they travel to ancient tombs and through catacombs, seeking relics around the world—to use her new feelings to seduce her. But when forced to choose between the vampire she’s falling for and reuniting her family, how can Kaderin live without either?

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🦉 Muggle Studies – Contemporary

Again I’m not sure if urban fantasy is acceptable for this but White Trash Zombie has a contemporary setting so I’m going with it. This series is so good!! Even if you hate zombies you should check this series out. If you enjoy the iZombie TV show you will probably like this. I listened to the audiobook which I highly recommend as well.

White Trash Zombie Apocalypse (White Trash Zombie #3) by Diana Rowland

White Trash Zombie Apocalypse (White Trash Zombie, #3)

Our favorite white trash zombie, Angel Crawford, has enough problems of her own, what with dealing with her alcoholic, deadbeat dad, issues with her not-quite boyfriend, the zombie mafia, industrial espionage, and evil corporations. Oh, and it’s raining, and won’t let up.

But things get even crazier when a zombie movie starts filming in town, and Angel begins to suspect that it’s not just the plot of the movie that’s rotten. Soon she’s fighting her way through mud, blood, bullets, and intrigue, even as zombies, both real and fake, prowl the streets.

Angel’s been through more than her share of crap, but this time she’s in way over her head. She’ll need plenty of brainpower to fit all the pieces – and body parts – together in order to save herself, her town, and quite possibly the human race.

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🦉 Potions – Next Ingredient: Sequel

I had no book in mind for this one because I read mostly series anyway so I was going to read whatever was next for me. I went with Harry Potter cause it worked for another reading challenge I’m doing on Goodreads.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6) by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6)

It is the middle of the summer, but there is an unseasonal mist pressing against the windowpanes. Harry Potter is waiting nervously in his bedroom at the Durselys’ house in Privet Drive for a visit from Professor Dumbledore himself. One of the last times he saw the Headmaster was in a fierce one-to-one duel with Lord Voldemort, and Harry can’t quite believe that Professor Dumbledore will actually appear at the Dursleys’ of all places. Why is the Professor coming to visit him now? What is it that cannot wait until Harry returns to Hogwarts in a few weeks’ time? Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts has already got off to an unusual start, as the worlds of Muggle and magic start to intertwine…

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Did you take part in the O.W.L.’s Magical Readathon?