Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Currently Reading

I thought I'd share a little reading update since I'm actually reading. Let me know if you've read any of these!

Monday, March 28, 2022

Music Monday - Bridgerton Covers

This meme is hosted over at Always Me

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that season two of Bridgerton has dropped and everyone is either loving it or hating it. You can read my thoughts HERE. But today I just wanted to share two of my favorite covers from season two. I hope you enjoy! 

Which is your favorite? Or do you have another you like from the series? Let me know below! I hope you have a great Monday!

Friday, March 25, 2022

Friday 5 - Duke Romances

So the five can be connections of any kind. Books can have been read last year or any year. Books can be used more than once.They may not have been read yet. They might be ones you just bought or want to buy.  It can be as simple or as complicated as you like. Maybe it’s not a list of actual books, but things connected to books – e.g. favourite book shops, recipes etc. It might even be five movies related to books or five poems or five poets or five bookish moments, five thoughts about reading – be creative! - The Book Date

This is the book that inspired this list. I've been rewatching the first season of Bridgerton to get ready for the next season that dropped today! I've not seen it yet so no spoilers please! But I'm so freaking excited to get class over with and watch!

But let's keep going with this list! 

Miss Katherine Danvers is a desperate wallflower. Her family is on the brink of financial ruin, and it is up her to save her mother and sisters from a life of indignities. So she transforms herself into the incomparable Kitty Danvers, the fiancée of the enigmatic and reclusive Alexander Masters, Duke of Thornton—once dubbed the mad, bad, and dangerous catch of the Season.

Ten years ago, society and the woman Alexander Masters loved called him a monster, after a tragic accident left him scarred and confined to a wheelchair. His heart exists in cold, lonely exile, until he learns he has a fiancée—a deceptive, clever, and utterly intriguing woman he's never met. Miss Danvers will now learn the consequences of engaging herself to the beast, for Alexander is determined to make her his. Soon, they are involved in a chase, a clash of wills, and though he once vowed to never love again, he burns for the enchanting Miss Danvers. And denying his heart may cost him an exquisite love that happens only once in a lifetime. 

When Devil, the most infamous member of the Cynster family, is caught in a compromising position with plucky governess Honoria Wetherby, he astonishes the entire town by offering his hand in marriage. No one dreamed this scandalous rake would ever take a bride. And as society mamas swooned at the loss of England′s most eligible bachelor, Devil′s infamous Cynster cousins began to place wagers on the wedding date.

But Honoria wasn′t about to bend society′s demands and marry a man "just" because they′d been found together virtually unchaperoned. No, she craved adventure, and while solving the murder of a young Cynster cousin fit the bill for a while, she decided that once the crime was solved she′d go off to see the world. But the scalding heat of her unsated desire for Devil soon had Honoria craving a very different sort of excitement. Could her passion for Devil cause her to embrace the enchanting peril of a lifelong adventure of the heart?

A handsome and reclusive horse breeder, Spencer Dumarque, the fourth Duke of Morland, is a member of the exclusive Stud Club, an organization so select it has only ten members--yet membership is attainable to anyone with luck. And Spencer has plenty of it, along with an obsession with a prize horse, a dark secret, and, now, a reputation as the dashing "Duke of Midnight." Each evening he selects one lady for a breathtaking midnight waltz. But none of the women catch his interest, and nobody ever bests the duke--until Lady Amelia d'Orsay tries her luck.

In a moment of desperation, the unconventional beauty claims the duke's dance and unwittingly steals his heart. When Amelia demands that Spencer forgive her scapegrace brother's debts, she never imagines that her game of wits and words will lead to breathless passion and a steamy proposal. Still, Spencer is a man of mystery, perhaps connected to the shocking murder of the Stud Club's founder. Will Amelia lose her heart in this reckless wager or win everlasting love?

Jessica McGale's family business desperately needs investors, and she's determined to succeed at any cost. But she knows London's elite will never look twice at a humble farm girl like herself. Posing as “Lady Whitfield,” however, places her in the orbit of wealthy, powerful people—most notably the Duke of Rotherby. His influence and support could save her company, but Jess never expected the effect he'd have on her.

Society thinks Noel is a notorious, carefree duke who dabbles in investments, but there's a side to him that only his closest friends see. When he crosses paths with Lady Whitfield at a business bazaar, his world tilts on its axis. She's brilliant and compelling, and brings him to his knees like no woman has before. Trust is difficult for Noel, but Jess makes him believe anything is possible...

As time ticks down on her Cinderella scheme, the thought of achieving her goal at Noel's expense breaks Jess' heart. He doesn't just want her now, he wants her forever. But will her secret end their future before it begins? 

Have you read any of these? Are you a fan of the Bridgerton TV show? Let me know below! Stay safe and have a great day! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

A Webtoon & A Manga Walk Into A Bar... (Book Reviews)

Well hello there. Welcome. You might be shocked that today I have two reviews and my friend, you're not alone. I actually read something! *Insert fireworks here* 

I've been in such a terrible reading slump and it seems I'm coming out of it... very slowly. 

So I decided to pick up something easy to read, to ease myself back into the grind. That's where the two stars of this post today come into play! Let's go!

I’ve been seeing this going around everywhere and I finally caved and read the first volume. It does a great job of sucking you in. I didn’t even know how much I’d read till I flipped to the end and saw there was nothing left.

I love the colors chosen, rich and dark with neon thrown in. It’s not something I’ve seen before. The only problem I had with this series at all was the art. Sometimes I just wasn’t the biggest fan of how something was drawn. It would be unclear to me what was going on or it just made me cringe.

But that’s easy enough to overlook. This series is great and I can’t wait to read more!

This has a lot of tropes in it. Girl pretending to be a boy. Boy who says he can’t care about anyone but then it turns out he cares for the MC. Protective side character that causes lots of drama. This has it all! Plus vampires and great art! Honestly, what more could I ask for?


Have you read either of these? Do any of them sound good to you? Let me know! I hope you stay safe and have a great day! 

Monday, March 21, 2022

Music Monday - Lindsey Stirling

This meme is hosted by Always Me 

I have to confess that I came up with the idea to share Lindsey Stirling from Mary at Dark Thoughts. She shared a Lindsey Stirling song and that got me listening to her again. I love her music so much. 

Which was your favorite? Do you like Lindsey Stirling or is this your first time hearing her? Let me know below! Have a great week!

Sunday, March 20, 2022

The Sunday Post

Well, hello there. This is my third ever Sunday Post. I’m usually so bad at keeping up with memes, even if I adore them. 

My spring break flew by in twister of illness and bad mental health. I ended up going to Urgent Care twice in one week and am only now feeling a little better. I’m still not at 100% but with each day I felt a little better. Don’t worry, it’s not Covid. 

I’m nervous about going back to school tomorrow, before Spring Break my seat mate was gone all week and I told my instructor that I wanted to move desks. So tomorrow will be the first time that this person will see I’m not sitting beside them. I’m just trying to stay out of drama. It was this or I’m going to blow up at them. 

I know this might sound overdramatic, but this person and I just don’t mesh well and I’ve been biting my tongue around them for months. So the idea of tomorrow has my stomach in knots. Hopefully, it all goes peacefully and I can just focus on my class. 

I’ve not been reading a lot. I’m still in a reading slump from the book that I read with my seat mate because I have a hard time saying no to people. 

But I finished one book last week! 

Now onto something really positive. My partner had a producer reach out to him about one of his scripts! His very first full length script! He signed the contract, and the producer is reaching out to his investors and such. It’s all very low budget but it might make it into Sundance! 

This follows another of his shorts getting made. 

I'm very proud and happy for him. He's been writing screenplays for so long that it's nice he's getting some recognition! I really hope this could be the start of a promising career for him. I know it's what he's always wanted to do. 

So tell me, how was your week? Anything special going on? What have you been reading? Let me know below! 

Friday, March 18, 2022

Friday 5 - YA Fairytale Retellings

So the five can be connections of any kind. Books can have been read last year or any year. Books can be used more than once.They may not have been read yet. They might be ones you just bought or want to buy.  It can be as simple or as complicated as you like. Maybe it’s not a list of actual books, but things connected to books – e.g. favourite book shops, recipes etc. It might even be five movies related to books or five poems or five poets or five bookish moments, five thoughts about reading – be creative! - The Book Date

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless Lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg.

She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

A Touch of Darkness By Scarlett St. Clair - Book Review

Persephone is the Goddess of Spring by title only. The truth is, since she was a little girl, flowers have shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hopes to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist.

Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible.

After a chance encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead and the terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever.

The bet does more than expose Persephone's failure as a goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows - and it's forbidden.

Book Breakdown

I’ve seen this book hyped around the blog and vlog world for quite some time and finally I caved into the hype and got the book. I love the Hades and Persephone myth, and while I’m getting a little tired of retellings, this one still grabs my attention. 

Now, before we recap this book, I’ll say this: it’s not perfect, but it was an entertaining read. 

Persephone is a Goddess that no one knows about because her mother hid her away in a greenhouse. But at the start of this novel, Persephone is out and about in the town that all the Gods and Goddesses live in. Which makes no sense if her mother is trying to keep her hidden. 

But through some luck, Persephone and her best friend Lexa get into the club owned by Hades. The one God that her mother has demanded she stay away from more than any other. But, naturally, she meets the God of the Dead and enters into a bet with him... 

This bet is for her to make life in the Underworld. Which means she’ll be spending a lot of time with him. Of course, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for these two. Persephone is a bit dense and very untrusting of Hades even though he gives her reasons to trust him and treats her well.

There’s also Persephone’s mother, who doesn’t want them together at all. She just wants to keep her daughter under her thumb. 

But in the end, Persephone gets her head outta her butt, and she and Hades come together. 

This is a trilogy, so I’m hoping in the next book that Persephone’s character grows. I also really hope there’s no more breakup/makeup in the rest of the series because that’s such an overdone and frankly immature trope at this point. 

The writing is alright. Nothing to write home about, but it’s easy to understand. I really did like Hades. I felt he had more layers to him and I’m interested to see more of him in the next one. 



Monday, March 14, 2022

Music Monday - Outlander

This meme is hosted by Always Me

Outlander is back!!!!! I've been loving the season so far! I thought I would share two songs. I am curious, do you watch Outlander? Have you read any of the novels? 

That's it for this week! Which was your favorite? Let me know below and have a wonderful week!

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Share A Poem on Sunday - Annabel Lee


It was many and many a year ago,

   In a kingdom by the sea,

That a maiden there lived whom you may know

   By the name of Annabel Lee;

And this maiden she lived with no other thought

   Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,

   In this kingdom by the sea,

But we loved with a love that was more than love—

   I and my Annabel Lee—

With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven

   Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,

   In this kingdom by the sea,

A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling

   My beautiful Annabel Lee;

So that her highborn kinsmen came

   And bore her away from me,

To shut her up in a sepulchre

   In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,

   Went envying her and me—

Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,

   In this kingdom by the sea)

That the wind came out of the cloud by night,

   Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love

   Of those who were older than we—

   Of many far wiser than we—

And neither the angels in Heaven above

   Nor the demons down under the sea

Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams

   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes

   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side

   Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,

   In her sepulchre there by the sea—

   In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Friday 5 - Hades & Persephone

So the five can be connections of any kind. Books can have been read last year or any year. Books can be used more than once.They may not have been read yet. They might be ones you just bought or want to buy.  It can be as simple or as complicated as you like. Maybe it’s not a list of actual books, but things connected to books – e.g. favourite book shops, recipes etc. It might even be five movies related to books or five poems or five poets or five bookish moments, five thoughts about reading – be creative! - The Book Date

Since I started reading A Touch of Darkness, I got to thinking about the other retellings of the Hades and Persephone myth. It's one of favorites in the Greek Mythos. 

Persephone is the Goddess of Spring by title only. The truth is, since she was a little girl, flowers have shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hopes to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist.

Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible.

After a chance encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead and the terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever.

The bet does more than expose Persephone's failure as a goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows - and it's forbidden.

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

Scandalous gossip, wild parties, and forbidden love—witness what the gods do after dark in this stylish and contemporary reimagining of one of mythology’s most well-known stories from creator Rachel Smythe. Featuring a brand-new, exclusive short story, Smythe’s original Eisner-nominated web-comic Lore Olympus brings the Greek Pantheon into the modern age with this sharply perceptive and romantic graphic novel.

Hades, God of Death, has no heart. Persephone is determined to prove otherwise…

Hades, the Lord of the Underworld, has no patience for living things or his Olympian brethren. His purpose is order, administering justice to those who enter his realm, and keeping the balance decreed by the Fates. Meeting Persephone sways his focus, her gentle sweetness threatening his control. But he will not be tempted.

Poseidon’s scheming wreaks havoc upon Persephone. Hades has no choice – he must rescue her.

Hades awakens something within the Goddess Persephone. She feels no fear from his brooding presence. In truth, she’s never felt so alive. Every stolen moment together only confirms her instinct: he is meant to be hers. Such a powerful union suit will face opposition – from Olympus, her troubled betrothed, the Fates, even Hades himself – but she is determined to win his heart.

The elves come for two things: war and wives. In both cases, they come for death.

Three-thousand years ago, humans were hunted by powerful races with wild magic until the treaty was formed. Now, for centuries, the elves have taken a young woman from Luella's village to be their Human Queen.

To be chosen is seen as a mark of death by the townsfolk. A mark nineteen-year-old Luella is grateful to have escaped as a girl. Instead, she's dedicated her life to studying herbology and becoming the town's only healer.

That is, until the Elf King unexpectedly arrives... for her.

Everything Luella had thought she'd known about her life, and herself, was a lie. Taken to a land filled with wild magic, Luella is forced to be the new queen to a cold yet blisteringly handsome Elf King. Once there, she learns about a dying world that only she can save.

The magical land of Midscape pulls on one corner of her heart, her home and people tug on another... but what will truly break her is a passion she never wanted.

Have you read any of these? Do you like the Hades and Persephone myth? If you know of any other retellings, leave them below! 

I hope you have a great weekend! Stay safe! 

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Guide To The Blue Beech Series (Sorta)

I was going to read the whole series before putting this post out but honestly... the series wasn't for me. I only read it because I don't know how to say no to people. I never wanted to read it and maybe that had something to do with it. 

While I rated every book here 3 stars or below,  I know that my seat mate loved every book we read. She didn't want to read the first two books which is why they aren't here. I wasn't going to force myself to keep reading books I hated for no reason. They are standalone novels. I wasn't confused at all jumping into book 3. 

These are the older covers... the author redesigned them to fit into the new cartoon theme romance books have.

This story follows Gage and Lauren, a couple that was in love as teenagers, but then Lauren broke it off out of nowhere and left Gaga heartbroken. He never got over her and she never really got over him, either.

Gage moves back to town and runs into Lauren, where she’s accused of burning down her apartment. Things move on from there. They slowly get closer again, Gage begging her to tell him why she broke his heart and ran away, all while pushing her away because of what happened the time they were apart. 

Just like the other books, there’s a conflict in here that makes no sense. I don’t want to spoil the twist in case you want to read this book, but I will say that I just didn’t like it. 

For this series, I like it before they get together and after it’s just meh. 

It’s a fast read that you’ll enjoy, but it’s nothing special.

This is one of the worst in the entire series. I hated the twist. I don’t think the main characters had any chemistry. The writing is still fast and fun. I laughed a bit. But honestly, the way he treated her after something happened and then that freaking terrible twist... this one is just not for me.

This one is my favorite of the books in this series. Which isn’t saying a lot. Maliki and Sierra have a very complicated connection between them. 

Even though Sierra is in love with Maliki, she marries a loser dude who she doesn’t love and then that loser dude cheats on her. So now she’s gonna get a divorce from the loser dude she should never have married.

Then the twist ending has Maliki acting like a completely different character than the start of the book.

That’s my main issue with this series. In order to create more conflict, the author has to change the characters or make up something stupid to keep the plot going. I think these books would be better than novellas. That would fit this story well.

Now this novel has steam, but the entire series does. So if you read clean romances, this is not for you.

Overall, I love most of this book. There are just glaring parts that have me shaking my head.

Just Friends follows two characters who claim they are just friends. They are anything but. It’s both funny and utterly ridiculous. Honestly, while I enjoyed this novel, I can see its flaws ten miles away. 

Rex’s scared to ruin his friendship with Carolina and won’t make things official, lying and saying they are just friends, but he treats her just like a girlfriend. They even have to pretend to be a date for her family. 

Then there’s the twist ending… which is just plain dumb. Not to mention how Rex handles it all without getting into any trouble. Which would not happen in real life. 

This book is just too far-fetched to be taken seriously. Sure, it’s fun while reading, it’s quick and you never want to put it down because you just need to see when they will finally get together. But once you’re done with it… it’s pretty forgettable.

Monday, March 7, 2022

Music Monday - Bad Dance Music

This meme is hosted by Always Me

I came up with the idea that every Sunday, my partner and I would have a little dance party in our living room. He loved the idea and we settled on bad dance music for this theme. I thought I would share two of the songs that I choose. 

I hope you get a good laugh from these silly songs!

Have you ever heard these before? What did you think? Let me know below. I hope you have a great week. I'm going to have a great week because the person I share a table with at school is gone for the whole week! I get peace! Amazing! YAY!

I hope you stay safe out there and read a really good book! 

Friday, March 4, 2022

Friday 5 - Ukraine

So the five can be connections of any kind. Books can have been read last year or any year. Books can be used more than once.They may not have been read yet. They might be ones you just bought or want to buy.  It can be as simple or as complicated as you like. Maybe it’s not a list of actual books, but things connected to books – e.g. favourite book shops, recipes etc. It might even be five movies related to books or five poems or five poets or five bookish moments, five thoughts about reading – be creative! - The Book Date

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know what's going on. Now, as I write this, it's Sunday (2/27/2022). I can't see the future, so I have no idea what's going to actually be going on when this goes live. I don't even know if any of us will be alive after Putin has ordered his military command to put nuclear deterrent forces on high alert

It's a very scary time, to me at least. All I do is watch the news. I feel so bad for the Ukrainians. But they are putting up one hell of a fight! 

Since this is all I can seem to focus on, I thought I would share 5 books that all have one thing in common. Ukraine. 

Ukraine is currently embroiled in a tense battle with Russia to preserve its economic and political independence. But today’s conflict is only the latest in a long history of battles over Ukraine’s existence as a sovereign nation. As award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy argues in The Gates of Europe, we must examine Ukraine’s past in order to understand its fraught present and likely future.

Situated between Europe, Russia, and the Asian East, Ukraine was shaped by the empires that have used it as a strategic gateway between East and West—from the Romans and Ottomans to the Third Reich and the Soviet Union, all have engaged in global fights for supremacy on Ukrainian soil. Each invading army left a lasting mark on the landscape and on the population, making modern Ukraine an amalgam of competing cultures.

The crisis in Ukraine and its implications for both the Crimean peninsula and Russia's relations with the West.The current conflict in Ukraine has spawned the most serious crisis between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War. It has undermined European security, raised questions about NATO's future, and put an end to one of the most ambitious projects of U.S. foreign policy--building a partnership with Russia. It also threatens to undermine U.S. diplomatic efforts on issues ranging from terrorism to nuclear proliferation. And in the absence of direct negotiations, each side is betting that political and economic pressure will force the other to blink first. Caught in this dangerous game of chicken, the West cannot afford to lose sight of the importance of stable relations with Russia.

This book puts the conflict in historical perspective by examining the evolution of the crisis and assessing its implications both for the Crimean peninsula and for Russia's relations with the West more generally. Experts in the international relations of post-Soviet states, political scientists Rajan Menon and Eugene Rumer clearly show what is at stake in Ukraine, explaining the key economic, political, and security challenges and prospects for overcoming them. They also discuss historical precedents, sketch likely outcomes, and propose policies for safeguarding U.S.-Russia relations in the future. In doing so, they provide a comprehensive and accessible study of a conflict whose consequences will be felt for many years to come.

April 25, 1986, in Chernobyl, was a turning point in world history. The disaster not only changed the world’s perception of nuclear power and the science that spawned it, but also our understanding of the planet’s delicate ecology. With the images of the abandoned homes and playgrounds beyond the barbed wire of the 30-kilometer Exclusion Zone, the rusting graveyards of contaminated trucks and helicopters, the farmland lashed with black rain, the event fixed for all time the notion of radiation as an invisible killer.

Chernobyl was also a key event in the destruction of the Soviet Union, and, with it, the United States’ victory in the Cold War. For Moscow, it was a political and financial catastrophe as much as an environmental and scientific one. With a total cost of 18 billion rubles—at the time equivalent to $18 billion—Chernobyl bankrupted an already teetering economy and revealed to its population a state built upon a pillar of lies.

The full story of the events that started that night in the control room of Reactor No.4 of the V.I. Lenin Nuclear Power Plant has never been told—until now. Through two decades of reporting, new archival information, and firsthand interviews with witnesses, journalist Adam Higginbotham tells the full dramatic story, including Alexander Akimov and Anatoli Dyatlov, who represented the best and worst of Soviet life; denizens of a vanished world of secret policemen, internal passports, food lines, and heroic self-sacrifice for the Motherland. Midnight in Chernobyl, award-worthy nonfiction that reads like sci-fi, shows not only the final epic struggle of a dying empire but also the story of individual heroism and desperate, ingenious technical improvisation joining forces against a new kind of enemy.

The momentous new book from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gulag and Iron Curtain.

In 1932-33, nearly four million Ukrainians died of starvation, having been deliberately deprived of food. It is one of the most devastating episodes in the history of the twentieth century. With unprecedented authority and detail, Red Famine investigates how this happened, who was responsible, and what the consequences were. It is the fullest account yet published of these terrible events.

The book draws on a mass of archival material and first-hand testimony only available since the end of the Soviet Union, as well as the work of Ukrainian scholars all over the world. It includes accounts of the famine by those who survived it, describing what human beings can do when driven mad by hunger. It shows how the Soviet state ruthlessly used propaganda to turn neighbours against each other in order to expunge supposedly 'anti-revolutionary' elements. It also records the actions of extraordinary individuals who did all they could to relieve the suffering.

The famine was rapidly followed by an attack on Ukraine's cultural and political leadership - and then by a denial that it had ever happened at all. Census reports were falsified and memory suppressed. Some western journalists shamelessly swallowed the Soviet line; others bravely rejected it, and were undermined and harassed. The Soviet authorities were determined not only that Ukraine should abandon its national aspirations, but that the country's true history should be buried along with its millions of victims. Red Famine, a triumph of scholarship and human sympathy, is a milestone in the recovery of those memories and that history. At a moment of crisis between Russia and Ukraine, it also shows how far the present is shaped by the past.

Winner of the 2012 Gourmand Cookbook Award for Best Eastern European Cookbook!

Now available in paperback, this popular Hippocrene cookbook introduces readers to the fresh foods, exquisite tastes, hospitality and generous spirit of the Ukrainian table. Scattered amongst the recipes are quotes, poems, historical facts, folklore, and illustrations, making this cookbook not only a culinary adventure but a unique cultural exploration as well. Includes:

  • More than 200 easy-to-follow recipes
  • An introduction to Ukraine’s history, culture, and cuisine
  • Helpful tips and notes with many recipes
  • Charming illustrations by renowned Ukrainian-American artist Laurette Kovary

This authentic cookbook invites the home cook to sample, explore and experiment with the freshest ingredients to prepare appetizers such as Pickled Herring, or one of eight regional variations of the quintessential Ukrainian soup, Borshch. You’ll find classics such as Chicken Kyiv or Holiday-Stuffed Roast Goose, or select more contemporary dishes like Grilled Pork Tenderloin served with a delectable plum sauce or Venison Steaks with Cherry-Mustard Butter. From elegant fare such as Whole Salmon in Aspic or Poached Carp Fillets with Yogurt-Scallion Sauce to classic homestyle dishes like stuffed cabbage (Holubsti) and dumplings (Varenyky), there is something for every occasion. Get the inside scoop on how to prepare special holiday breads like Ukrainian Paska or Orange-Iced Babka and detailed instructions on how to make various bread pastries, cakes and tortes.

Readers will certainly fall in love with Ukraine all over again, or perhaps, for the first time.

I wanted to end on a more light hearted note with the cookbook. I actually ended up buying three of these books on the list. One I already owned. I hope that you have a great weekend. Stay safe my friend. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Random Update

First off, I must confess that I’ve read no new books recently. Instead, I’ve been... pressured to read things I’m not into and it’s kind of put me into a slump. Something I really don’t respect is when people push their interests onto someone else. 

Hopefully, I can find a way to fix the situation without hurting this person’s feelings and having them ruin my entire schooling experience. Fingers crossed!

But I have been re-watching Outlander to get ready for March 6th! Are you excited about the season premier? I also watched The Hating Game, and I really enjoyed it! This may be a very unpopular opinion, but I think I like it just as much as the book! I hope we get more romance movies in the future. 

I’ve also been following the Ukraine and Russia news coverage. That’s a whole terrible mess. 

So instead I thought I would share a few books that I have on my bookshelf waiting to be read. Here we go! 

A warrior princess trained in isolation, Lara is driven by two certainties. The first is that King Aren of the Bridge Kingdom is her enemy. And the second is that she’ll be the one to bring him to his knees.

The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom enriches itself and deprives its rivals, including Lara's homeland. So when she’s sent as a bride under the guise of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture its impenetrable defenses. And the defenses of its king.

Yet as she infiltrates her new home and gains a deeper understanding of the war to possess the bridge, Lara begins to question whether she’s the hero or the villain. And as her feelings for Aren transform from frosty hostility to fierce passion, Lara must choose which kingdom she’ll save… and which kingdom she’ll destroy.

Persephone is the Goddess of Spring by title only. The truth is, since she was a little girl, flowers have shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hopes to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist.

Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible.

After a chance encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead and the terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever.

The bet does more than expose Persephone's failure as a goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows - and it's forbidden.

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

When Crown Princess Justine of Wesloria is sent to England to learn the ropes of royalty, she falls under the tutelage of none other than Queen Victoria herself. Justine’s also in the market for a proper husband—one fit to marry the future queen of Wesloria.

Because he knows simply everyone, William, Lord Douglas (the notoriously rakish heir to the Duke of Hamilton seat in Scotland, and decidedly not husband material), is on hand as an escort of sorts. William has been recruited to keep an eye on the royal matchmaker for the Weslorian prime minister, tasked to ensure the princess is matched with a man of quality…and one who will be sympathetic to the prime minister’s views. As William and Justine are forced to scrutinize an endless parade of England’s best bachelors, they become friends. But when the crowd of potential grooms is steadily culled, what if William is the last bachelor standing?

Mackenzie "Mac" Cabot is a people pleaser. Her demanding parents. Her prep school friends. Her long-time boyfriend. It's exhausting, really, always following the rules. Unlike most twenty-year-olds, all she really wants to do is focus on growing her internet business, but first she must get a college degree at her parents' insistence. That means moving to the beachside town of Avalon Bay, a community made up of locals and the wealthy students of Garnet College.

Mac's had plenty of practice suppressing her wilder impulses, but when she meets local bad boy Cooper Hartley, that ability is suddenly tested. Cooper is rough around the edges. Raw. Candid. A threat to her ordered existence. Their friendship soon becomes the realest thing in her life.

Despite his disdain for the trust-fund kids he sees coming and going from his town, Cooper soon realizes Mac isn't just another rich clone and falls for her. Hard. But as Mac finally starts feeling accepted by Cooper and his friends, the secret he's been keeping from her threatens the only place she's ever felt at home.

Have you read any of these? What's a book you read recently and really enjoyed? Tell me all about it below! That's all I've got for today. I hope you have a great day and stay safe!