Dec 29, 2022

Recent Reads: The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake

The Atlas Paradox By Olivie Blake
Series: The Atlas #2
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date:  October 25, 2022

Format: Hardback
Source: Bought/Own


Goodreads Synopsis: 

The Atlas Paradox is the long-awaited sequel to dark academic sensation The Atlas Six—guaranteed to have even more yearning, backstabbing, betrayal, and chaos.

Six magicians. Two rivalries. One researcher. And a man who can walk through dreams. All must pick a side: do they wish to preserve the world—or destroy it? In this electric sequel to the viral sensation, The Atlas Six, the society of Alexandrians is revealed for what it is: a secret society with raw, world-changing power, headed by a man whose plans to change life as we know it are already under way. But the cost of knowledge is steep, and as the price of power demands each character choose a side, which alliances will hold and which will see their enmity deepen?”

I love trilogies, but I always forget about thos cliffhanger endings. Luckily after finishing book 1 of this series I was able to grab book 2... but now again I have to WAIT :( 

Book 2 of the Atlas trilogy continues to follow the initiates and their tenure at the Alexandrian Society. Lots of secrets are revealed and alliances are formed.  I won't go into too much detail, since this is book 2 and I don't want to spoil but it was a great installment to this series.

Again, this book is mulitple POV, with a few new POV's added in to the mix including rival Forum members and former Initiates. The characters drive the book and plot forward again making discoveries and learning new secrets about the Society and their caretaker Altas. 

This installment was harder to get into than the first. I ran though the first few chapters as I tried to learn more about the cliffhanger from book 1 but it was clear that it wasn't coming soon and so the book stalled a bit.  It was also difficult to feel out where the book was headed. The writing seemed more rushed and jumbled. For exmaple, the initiates go through their initiation ritual which showed them a projection of another person that was there... so I though alliences would form and new information would come of it, or that we would at least learn the reason behind it but NO, it hurt some of the pairing and did nothing for others. It could have been a really interesting dynamic played through the book, but it was left to trickle out as they went seperate ways to conduct research. 

While this one did not hit the mark as well, I think it was still a very fun dark academia. The characters are still very love/hate all the time and there is still this deep mental health element that I think the author should play up and into more. I also like this found-family aspect as they live together longer and make plays to assist one another when the time is right. 

I am excited for book 3, however depending on how long it takes to come out... we will see if this is enough motivation to pick it up.

Dec 27, 2022

Recent Reads: The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake
Series: The Atlas #1
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date:  January 31, 2020

Format: Paperback
Source: Bought


Goodreads Synopsis: 
The Alexandrian Society is a secret society of magical academicians, the best in the world. Their members are caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity. And those who earn a place among their number will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams. Each decade, the world’s six most uniquely talented magicians are selected for initiation – and here are the chosen few...

- Libby Rhodes and NicolΓ‘s Ferrer de Varona: inseparable enemies, cosmologists who can control matter with their minds.
- Reina Mori: a naturalist who can speak the language of life itself.
- Parisa Kamali: a mind reader whose powers of seduction are unmatched.
- Tristan Caine: the son of a crime kingpin who can see the secrets of the universe.
- Callum Nova: an insanely rich pretty boy who could bring about the end of the world. He need only ask.

When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they must spend one year together to qualify for initiation. During this time, they will be permitted access to the Society’s archives and judged on their contributions to arcane areas of knowledge. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. If they can prove themselves to be the best, they will survive. Most of them.

What the heck was that?! I feel like I have whiplash ending this book... so I immediately grabbed book 2 which was NOT in the reading plan for the month, but oh well.

This is a dark academia following six very talented magicians. They are tapped by the Alexandrian Society to be this year’s initiate class. For the first year they will be learning about the Society and protecting it and then in year two they will be able to use it to conduct their own research. The Alexandrian Society is the mythical library of Alexandria housing all knowledge, ancient 'lost' texts and originals and only a select few are able to access it. 

The six this year are Libby and Nico, who are physical magicians, A naturalist named Reina, a mind-reader named Parisa, an empath - Callum, and Tristan is a very special illusionist of sorts that can see through illusions and do much greater things than he realizes. What they don't realize is that in order to get into year 2 only 5 out of the 6 progress and one must die for the rest to proceed... secret society secrets must stay hidden...

This book was dense. There was a lot of inner turmoil from the characters and it kinda of focuses on mental health in a lot of ways which was interesting. The plot was VERY character driven so if you don't like these characters, you probably won't stick with it. That being said, I think there is a love/hate relationship that develops with all the characters as you read. They do some really cool things and progress nicely and then they take steps back that make you want to scream. (thus, some of the whiplash feeling). 

I full expected to learn more about the Society and Atlas Blakely but since it was so character driven, you are so far into their thought, feelings, and actions that there isn't much time for that world build, and I would have liked more of it... but I still enjoyed it. 

I wanted to know what would happen to the characters, I was invested and so the 2nd book was needed... and now the 3rd too but that review will be coming soon.

Overall, if you like a multiple POV book, with very damaged but interesting magicians, this book is for you. If you are not a fan of character-driven plots... then maybe not so much.

Dec 25, 2022

Merry Christmas from Cover2CoverBlog

πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„Merry Christmas πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„

From Steph (and family) at Cover2CoverBlog 


Hope that your holiday is filled with love, wellness and happiness!

Dec 11, 2022

Building the Book Pile #418

Welcome to Building the Book Pile!

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

Hi there, I realized this week while writing up my TBR that I had no December review books pending. I am late on a few Netgalley ones but I have a stack of books that I have bought that I wanted to read. So this month is all about getting to those books and I am super excited. December so far has been a grat reading month. 

How is your December going?

This week we leave to go to FL to visit family before the holidays... so I hope to read a lot but posting will be limited if at all. Sorry.

I hope you have a great week!!

If you are interested in supporting my ability to stay awake and read please consider dontating - Coffee  is appreciated ... Ko-fi

Coming up on the Blog

Not sure, sorry. Might take the week off.

Books Received Recently...   

Robin and Her Misfits by Kelly Ann Jacobson - from Librarything Early Reviewer program.

Comment or leave me a link and I will see you online again soon.
Happy Reading!

Dec 8, 2022

Recent Reads: Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree

Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree 
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date:  February 22, 2022

Format: Paperback
Source: Bought


Goodreads Synopsis: 
High Fantasy with a double-shot of self-reinvention

Worn out after decades of packing steel and raising hell, Viv the orc barbarian cashes out of the warrior’s life with one final score. A forgotten legend, a fabled artifact, and an unreasonable amount of hope lead her to the streets of Thune, where she plans to open the first coffee shop the city has ever seen.

However, her dreams of a fresh start pulling shots instead of swinging swords are hardly a sure bet. Old frenemies and Thune’s shady underbelly may just upset her plans. To finally build something that will last, Viv will need some new partners and a different kind of resolve.

A hot cup of fantasy slice-of-life with a dollop of romantic froth.
I am so glad I found this book on BookTok. It is such a cozy fantasy. This book was so warm and fuzzy to read and it really brought me so much joy. Everything was so wholesome and even the beginning when Viv is still collecting bounties and slaying monsters, it was well done and not overly graphic. 

The book follows Viv, a retired adventurer who built most of her life fighting and with violence, and now she would like to open a cafe. No one knows what coffee even is, but Viv has a passion for it since discovering it in a Gnomish village on her travels. She would like to bring this delightful warm cup to everyone and has a vision. To do so she brings together a lovely group of outcasts to build up her enterprise and it is beautiful.  This was such a good found-family story. The plot has some mystery and suspense here and there but really it was about building relationships around Viv. The characters are all great - Viv while strong, is also sensitive and determined and really going out on a limb to try something so different. Tandri is trying to break perceptions and freeing herself from a past life as well. Thimble! Oh my gosh, the best! A mouse baker... who is quiet but loves baking, SO CUTE! and Cal, our builder who once they get going will do anything to support Viv and her dream because she took a chance on him. 

I can't say enought how light and lovely this book was. It was a quick read but so delightful the entire time. I didn't to put it down. I loved the themes, I loved the cafe, I was hungry the whole time becuase of Thimble's baking descriptions.  A great start to my December reading. 

If you are looking for something cozy and cute, and love coffee - you will adore this one.

Dec 7, 2022

Happy Holidays from Cover2CoverBlog

Happy December and Happy Holidays! 

I hope your 2022 has been better than the last few years, I know they have been rough. 

However you will be celebrating this month, I would like to say Happy Holidays!!!

I hope you have a love-filled holiday season that is happy and healthy. 
Stay well my friends.

xoxo- Steph

Dec 5, 2022

Monthly Re-Cap (Nov 22) and TBR Pile (Dec 22)

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

Here is the progress from November

~~Books I Read in November 2022~~  

~~Links to Some Reviews~~
Others will come later.
  1. The Last Huntress by Lenore Borja (YA) -3 stars
  2. Belittled Women by Amanda Sellet (YA) -3 stars
  3. Wonderland by Tommy Kovac (GN, MG) - 4 stars
  4. Passport by Sophia Glock (GN, YA) - 3 stars
  5. Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Harris (Gn, YA) - 4 stars
  6. Babble! and How Punctuation Saved it by Caroline Adderson (Youth) - 4 stars
  7. The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses by K.N. Smith (YA) - 3 stars
  8. I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy (Adult) - 5 stars
  9. Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen (Adult) - 4 stars
  10. Bright Winter Night by Ally Braydon (Youth) - 4 stars
  11. Escape to Witch City by E. Latimer (MG) - 5 stars

 TBR for December

  1. Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood
  2. Babel by RF Kuang
  3. Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree
  4. Thistlefoot by GennaRose Nethercott
  5. The Kiss Curse by Erin Sterling
  6. The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

How was your November reading? 
Feel free to share it in the comments below! I would love to know what you are reading!

Dec 4, 2022

Building the Book Pile #417

Welcome to Building the Book Pile!

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

Wow it is December - this year... it went so quickly. I cannot get over how fast it flew by. I am reflecting on the year and it has been a whirlwind, but I have read some great books and I can't wait to share my top picks of the year with you all soon - what have been some of your favorites?

I book-journaled this year and really enjoyed that. It helped me keep track of all my thoughts and I have little images of covers to reflect with - I highly recommend doing this if you read a lot of books like I do. 

Anywho, this week was pretty low-key at work, so that was nice. Less events as we near the holidays, but my events ramp up. We are actually going to Florida to visit family next week and I cannot wait for the warmth (although it has been warm-for NH here so far). 

I hope you have a great week!!

If you are interested in supporting my ability to stay awake and read please consider dontating - Coffee  is appreciated ... Ko-fi

Coming up on the Blog

Monthly Re-cap (Nov 22) and TBR (Dec 22) 

Happy Holidays Post

Recent Reads: Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldres (Adult)

Books Received Recently...   
Comment or leave me a link and I will see you online again soon.
Happy Reading!

Dec 2, 2022

Recent Reads: Escape to Witch City by E. Latimer

Source: From Librarything Early Reviewers program in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.

Escape to Witch City by E. Latimer 
Publisher: Tundra Books
Publication Date:  August 3. 2022

Format: Paperback


Goodreads Synopsis: 
In a world ruled by fear of witches, some secrets are deadly. A thrilling new fantasy adventure set in historical London for fans of V.E. Schwab's City of Ghosts and Serafina and the Black Cloak.

Emmaline Black has a secret. She can hear the rhythm of heartbeats. Not just her own, but others' too. It's a rhythm she's learned to control, and that can only mean one thing... Emma's a witch.

In a world where a sentence of witchcraft comes with dire consequences and all children who have reached the age of thirteen are tested to ensure they have no witch blood, Emma must attempt to stamp out her power before her own test comes. But the more she researches, the more she begins to suspect that her radically anti-witch aunt and mother are hiding something. The truth about their sister, her Aunt Lenore, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances years ago.

The day of the test comes, and Emma's results not only pair her up with strange new friends, but set her on a course to challenge everything she's ever been taught about magic, and reveal long-buried family secrets. It seems witches may not have been so easy to banish after all. Secret cities, untapped powers, missing family members -- Emma is about to discover a whole new world.
Escape to Witch City follows Emma, a young royal who is Tested for witch blood and fails. In their kingdom witches are hunted and killed for having magic and for a historyof violence. Now, children are tested as well and disposed of if they show signs of witchcraft. Sadly Emma is one of those children. She often hears a noise - a heartbeat of others and she can make it stop if she chooses to. She has accidently done it a few times and she hates it. Now she and a few other witch children are on the run from the violent queen to find a mysterious witch sancuary called Witch City so that they don't need to live in fear. 

This was such a fun adventure. The worldbuilding was great and creative and the characters were young yet smart and resourceful. It was nice to root for them as we followed them on their escape. I liked Emma and her story she was strong, determined, and a quick thinker. Her family was facinating and I loved the twists throughout the book. The magic was interesting and I would have loved to see more examples of the different types of magic people posessed but it was still well done and fun.

The plot was paced really well and the detail and worldbuilding was so good an kept me enthralled with the story. I was a little worried about the wrap up, but it worked out ok. it just happened very quickly. This was a quick read with lots of adventure, and I love a good story about witches so this was a fun one. If you are looking for a good stand-alone middle grade read, this could be a fun one for you.

Dec 1, 2022

Early Reader Review: Bright Winter Night by Alli Brydon

Bright Winter Night by Alli Brydon, Illustrated by Ashling Lindsay
Publisher: Two Lions
Publication Date:  December 1, 2022

Format: Ebook
Source: From Amazon Prime Free selections for November.


Goodreads Synopsis: 
The forest calls, and creatures come:

big and small, one by one.

They sense there is a task to do

as night descends, replacing blue.

On one bright winter night, a group of woodland creatures emerges from the forest. Despite their differences, they start to build something together, using items found on the forest floor. What are they making? And how quickly can they build it? Something special is happening tonight, and soon the animals are off—in a race to catch a glimpse of one of nature’s most astounding wonders! With lyrical text and sparkling artwork, Bright Winter Night is a celebration of the joy and beauty of nature and the special gift of friendship and togetherness.
A short review for a short always. The synopsis pretty much does it. This is a winter wonderland of animals working together to accomplish a goal. With a rhyming scheme the book is about forest animals, rabbits, deer, wolves, building a sleigh to go see the Northern Lights at just the right time. They all work together and put aside their differences (and eating preferences) to help each other. 

The illustrations are very wispy, using pastel colors to capture the forest in the nighttime covered in snow. There is always this glow about it that was beautifully captured by this illustrator. If your littles like snow and animals, this would be a great bedtime story. It is light and fun, and there is a sense of adventure as the animals traverse through the forest to the clearing to see the sky sparkle. 

Nov 30, 2022

Recent Reads: Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen

Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen 
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date:  August 30, 2022

Format: Hardback
Source: Book of the Month Sept pick.


Goodreads Synopsis: 
An enchanting tale filled with magical realism and moments of pure love that won’t let you go.

Between the real and the imaginary, there are stories that take flight in the most extraordinary ways.

Right off the coast of South Carolina, on Mallow Island, The Dellawisp sits—a stunning old cobblestone building shaped like a horseshoe, and named after the tiny turquoise birds who, alongside its human tenants, inhabit an air of magical secrecy.

When Zoey comes to claim her deceased mother’s apartment at the Dellawisp she meets her quirky and secretive neighbors, including a young woman with a past, two estranged middle-aged sisters, and a lonely chef, and three ghosts. The sudden death of one of Zoey's new neighbors sets off a search that leads to the island's famous author and to a long-estranged relative of the sisters.
Each of them has a story, and each story has an ending which hasn't yet been written.

I really like this author's use of magical realism in her novels. While seemingly contemporary fiction, there are magical realism elements interspersed in a whimsical way.  The story is about futures, happiness, friendship and love, and I really liked the found-family elements this book created. Readers follow Zoey, who moves into her mother's condo the summer before she is due to set of to a nearby college. She meets her neighbors, Charlotte who is a loner, bohemian, henna artist; Mac a chef, they crazy lady that is always yelling at people and snooping, and her mysterious sister that does not come out of her unit. There is also a son, an author, and a caretaker as well. So there are a lot of characters in this one but it all flows really well. 

The book follows all these characters as Zoey learns more about them during her time there, but we also learn about them through ghosts that linger at teh Dellawisp - the complex they live in. 

This was such a fun book for a number of reasons. The author did such a wonderful job creating atmosphere. I want to visit Mallow Island and the Dellawisp and see the bird and meet all these strange people that seem like so much fun. The twist ans turns this books takes were well done and some were unexpected and shocking. There was so much depth - of enviornment, of characters and their emotions and feelings and beings. It all worked together beautifully.

If you enjoy magical realism or would like to try it, Sarah Addison Allen's work is a great place to start. It is subtle and whimical, just know that you might not get explanations unitl the very end.