Category Archives: Book Reviews

Men Explain Things to Me – Book Review

Published Date: April 14, 2014

Publishing Co.: Haymarket Books

Pages: 130

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The men who get it also understand that feminism is not a scheme to deprive men but a campaign to liberate us all.”

This collection of essays would be brilliant if the title and blurb portrayed what it was really about. Feminism, how far we’ve come and why there is still work to do. If that had been the entire intention, this would have been 5 out of 5 stars.

Unfortunately, what was billed to me was not what was received. I went into this looking for funny anecdotes of men with no clue, saying dumb things to women in their quest to seem intelligent. Every woman can relate and has her own stories about this exact subject. That happened twice in the beginning, while the rest dived into fighting the patriarchy. Which, do not get me wrong, I am down for, but I was looking for something more humorous.

“Finding ways to appreciate advances without embracing complacency is a delicate task.”

If I ignore what is lacking in humor, it is rich in information and it is a topic that should never leave anyone’s mind until there is equality. Therefore, I think this is an important read. However, I have a feeling that more people will pick this up for the same reason that I did and those people probably already understand that there is still work to be done. Meaning, the people that need to be reading it to get the message, most likely are not.

“Men explain things to me, still. And no man has ever apologized for explaining, wrongly, things that I know and they don’t.”

Pestilence (The Four Horsemen #1) – Book Review

Published Date: September 14, 2018

Publishing Co.: CreateSpace

Pages: 381

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I honestly thought that I would not like this book. I thought that if I didn’t hate it, I would at least not finish it. I mean, the cover is cheesy and the premise is not one of my usual choices. However, much to my surprise, it sucked me in.

Sara Burns drew the short stick. The apocalypse has begun and this firefighter drew the stick that decided she would be the one to die trying to kill one of the Four Horsemen. That’s right folks, God has unleashed his wrath because well, humans suck. Or a lot of them do at least. Four or five years ago, the horsemen rode the Earth and destroyed the human way of life. Then, three of them went back to sleep while Pestilence spread his terror upon the planet.

Now Pestilence has come to Sara’s neck of the Canadian woods and she has been chosen to try to take him out. I’m not entirely sure why humanity would think a divine creature could be killed by guns or any other means but as a desperate species, I guess we’ll try anything.

So obviously, she fails.

Pestilence takes her hostage and forces her to come along for his ride of horror and doom. DOOM I SAY. He doesn’t unleash the plague on her but tortures her just the same because, “to live is to suffer” or something along those lines. Plus, he would like a little vengeance since he may not be able to die, but he can feel pain all the same. And she lit him on fire.

As they travel spreading disease and death, Sara forces Pestilence to see that there are some redeeming qualities to humans. Kindness, compassion and LOVE. That’s right, this is a love story. A story of falling in love with one of the horsemen of the apocalypse. That’s why folks, I didn’t think I would enjoy this all that much. It is a weird love story plot. However, the characters were great. There is some obvious Stockholm syndrome issues for a little bit, but the divine bad boy redemption is really what brings it home.

I would label this as probably not for everyone but I for one, enjoyed myself.

I am undecided whether I will continue the series. The second book, War, has an even better rating that the first one. It will probably come down to what my mood is, as usual.

Coffee & a Chat – Bookstores and Dog Beds

The Prince of Barkness gets a new bed. (Ozzy)

Good snowy morning ladies and germs! What a way to round out the first month of 2021 but with a little chat over the morning’s caffeine intake.

A new realization this month: This pandemic has made me realize many things over the last almost year, and my dears, the general public made me question whether I want to be a pharmacy technician the rest of my life. After a bit of consideration, I discovered that the answer had become a solid, no. Then, Mr. C&M gave me another idea; to one day open my own bookstore.

So that’s the new life plan, in the next 5 to 10 years, open my own bookstore. Pharmacy is still fine for now but if someone is rude, I want to be able to throw them out of my own store. (I may also be falsely envisioning that book patrons are a less rude bunch, but let me have my dream.) I helped open one small business, after lots of research, I think I can do it on my own one day.

As for the rest of January, I did pretty good with keeping up on content.

I reviewed two books –

Magic Triumps by Ilona Andrews (5 stars)

Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews (5 stars)

I also reread Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with my BFF and started another book;

I posted 3 new recipes –

Eggnog Bread

Applebutter Cookies

Soft Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

I also received my first dose of the Covid Vaccine almost 3 weeks ago. My second dose is this Tuesday. I didn’t have too many side effects with the first dose. Just muscle soreness for 24 hours and was ravenously hungry the next day. We’ll see what the second dose has in store as we’ve heard that’s usually where you see more side effects.

This may become my new format, Coffee & a Chat’s for the end of the month to recap progress and various happenings.

How was your January??

Blood Heir (Aurelia Ryder #1) – Book Review

Publishing Date: January 12, 2021

Publishing Co.: NYLA

Pages: 359

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Eight years after the end of the Kate Daniels saga, we return to a much different Atlanta under the disguise of a stranger. Or least, that’s how it appears. Really the person with a different face, different voice, different scent, different name, is Julie, Kate’s adopted daughter. She gallops into town on her carnivorous horse, Tulip. A prophecy has been foretold of Kate’s death at the hands of a newly resurrected god and if Kate knows that Julie is in Atlanta, the future becomes more certain, Kate will die.

Julie has spent the last eight years becoming as powerful as she possibly can to protect those she loves and those who need it most. She has spent the last four of those eight years doing everything she can to change the results of the prophecy. This is her last chance. If she fails, the woman who saved her from the streets will perish from this world forever.

Trying to stop a god, in your hometown, without being noticed, has it’s problems. Not everyone can be fooled by her disguise no matter the precautions she takes, and those people threaten to blow her cover. The last person she needs to find out about her return home is the man she loved, but it’s harder than hell to hide things from a werewolf.

I am not disappointed. Kate Daniels left big shoes to fill and her predecessor jumped into both boots, ax swinging and power words on her lips. Where’s book two?

Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels #10) – Book Review

Published Date: August 28, 2018

Publishing Co.: ACE

Pages: 336

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The triumphant (see what I did there) conclusion to one of my favorite urban fantasy series of all time.

As if it’s not bad enough that you’re about to go to war with your own father, another heavy hitter with a personal vendetta against your family shows up and demands his very own war on your world. Plus, your thirteen month old son is beginning to express his potential magic. Such is the life of Kate and her soulmate Curran.

These two separate but equally deadly wars will take everything they have in their arsenal to keep their son alive and save the people they love, but the opposing armies are massive and Atlanta is going to have to come together if it wants to survive. Enemies must become allies or face certain annihilation.

It has been a long, exciting journey to this ending and I was so pleased that it finished on a great note. I don’t expect that it will be the very last we’ll see of Kate and Curran as their world is expanding to other series and for that I’m grateful. This has been some of the best world building I’ve seen in any urban fantasy universe. The characters were addicting and the magic system equally enticing. Ilona Andrews are a dynamite writing couple. They have yet to fail me and I suspect I’ll be running off to purchase their latest release that continues Julie’s narrative.

2021 Bookish Resolutions

I went back and read my resolutions from last year and BOY WAS I OPTIMISTIC. Thanks 2020! In retrospect, compared to a lot of other people, we did just fine in the year that ruined everything for everyone. So I’ll just be thankful for that.

2020’s Resolutions and How I Did:

I challenged myself to read 30 books for the year and I read 40. To be fair, I knew 30 was something that could easily be accomplished but I just didn’t want the pressure of not reaching an unreasonable goal.

My main goal was to spend the least amount possible on books and to work on the ones I already owned. I read 30 books that I owned and bought 17. Technically, that makes me successful. I spent $41.59 of my own money on books for the year and $20 from an Amazon giftcard. Not too shabby!

Read more non-fiction. I read 6 books in that genre which is up from the 2 I think I read the previous year.

I borrowed 7 books between Ignited Moth and my little cousin and checked out ZERO books from the library.

The one bookish goal I did not accomplish was building a bookshelf. That’s two years in a row that I failed that one.

2021 Bookish Resolutions:

Continue working on my current stock at home. Since the world is still on fire, the motivation for this will probably be easy.

Spend as little as possible on books. I’ve got other goals that require money and a giant stock of books at home so I feel like this is a no-brainer.

Mood read the entire year. I’ve been so much happier since doing this that I need to make it a priority.

THIRD YEARS THE CHARM RIGHT??! Build a bookshelf. :3

2021 Non-Bookish Resolutions:

Continue to pay down credit cards. (We did pretty good at this in 2020 since we weren’t going anywhere.)

Invest money in new clothes. Clothes are not something we spend a lot of money on and we could both use some upgrades, so this is to be the year that we clean out and restock our wardrobes.

What resolution are you MOST excited to tackle in 2021?

Best Books of 2020

If nothing else, this year was decent for reading. Even though I took time off of reviewing, I remained a pretty strict rater. Not a lot of books made 5 stars for me this past year. Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading more by not forcing myself to do any challenges, not pushing myself to review anything, and just going with whatever my mood called for. I am a mood reader and I must accept that and stop forcing myself to into any reading boxes.

In no particular order, here are my favorites from 2020:

I’m almost done with Dune Messiah, I plan to finish it tomorrow night, and I am just going to go ahead and name my top two books of 2020 as such:

What were some of your top reads of 2020?

Christmas 2020 Book Haul

Merry after Christmas folks! I hope you all enjoyed whatever holiday you celebrate and did your best to make it memorable.

What did the Cupcakes and Machetes household do? It was just the two of us which was honestly very relaxing. Usually Mr. C&M makes Christmas dinner but we decided this year to have Chinese food instead. We’ve never done that before and I recommend it if you don’t feel like cooking. However, I also recommend that you check which Chinese restaurants are actually open BEFORE the day of. We had to drive to another town since we did not plan properly lol.

Mr. C&M managed to snag a PS5 two weeks after release so I got to be the spoiled one this year. I’m writing this post from my new bomb ass laptop. (The kids still use that phrase right??) It kicks the shit out of my previous one. I look forward to blogging more now.

Mr. C&M also wins Christmas because he bought me the Dune series and they’re all matching editions. I’m flattered that he remembered that that matters to me after some slight mishaps with the Witcher series this past spring. (The right covers, just mismatched sizes. Book diva here.)

Photo also features my super awesome new fuzzy slippers that make me feel like I have fat bear feet.

What present are you most excited about that you received?

November 2020 in Books

My little black Christmas tree went up yesterday. It’s prelit with white lights but I added green to give it a Type O Negative kind of vibe. 😀

This past week has been very rocky. My coworker tested positive with Covid-19. He feels okay other than getting tired very easily. The rest of us tested negative at this time, but we’re all worried that it’s just the incubation period. We will see what this next week brings.

Onto books!

5 out of 5 stars – I went into this with little expectation given things I had heard and came out on the other end absolutely loving this book. If you don’t like political intrigue, I could see how you would say that this is boring or drawn out. However, if you’re like me and you dig that sort of thing, baby dive on in!

4 out of 5 stars – One of my favorite space opera series. The character building is always so great and the world encompassing those characters is always original. I feel like it may have been overshadowed by Dune but I still had a good time reading it.

Science Fiction unrelated to books:

Mr. C&M and I endulged in HBO’s Lovecraft Country. Other than there being plenty of horror, there was also quite a bit of science fiction. This series is incredibly brutal and gorey for anyone not into that sort of thing. We found it absolutely fascinating.

How was your November? Science fiction related or otherwise.

Coffee & A Chat – Science Fiction Month

It’s a new glorious day folks. We spent last night having a very small going away party for a friend and celebrating the results of the election. So I come to you this morning, slightly hungover and slowly sipping this coffee. Oh, the wonders that are coffee. I was sick this last week (not covid, I was tested), and threw up coffee. It only put me off for one day. My love of coffee knows no bounds.

Okay well, I don’t see myself ever getting into coffee enemas, so I guess there are SOME bounds.

As many of you are already fully celebrating, November is Science Fiction Month. Usually, I hop on board another blog’s hosting of a sci-fi extravaganza, but not this year. I’m just not feeling the commitment this go-around. If you wish to join in those festivities however, check out Imyril’s blog. It is a great time.

I did decide to take on a sci-fi giant and since it’s a thicker book, I didn’t want to feel rushed reading to make blog content.

I’m already 344 pages in and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I look forward to a lazy Sunday and getting more of this in.

What are your plans for Sci-Fi Month?