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Another crazy week in paradise!  Kinda.  Sorta.

This post has been shared on The Sunday Post, a weekly recap from so many amazing blogs is hosted by Kimberly over at Caffeinated Reviewer.  This word link and the graphic will take you to The Sunday Post meme for this week – enjoy.  🙂

 

This week has been a year, hasn’t it?  For the last 10 days, I’ve been dealing with my life away from the keyboard, with events happening to friends, world events, and just plain depression.  No, I’m not afraid or ashamed to say that the world right now has me in a depressed state.  I’m excited to see changes happening, but they are long, long overdue and there is still so much more that needs to be addressed.  A world full of “Karens” has me even hiding from Twitter on most days now.

Probably what has hit me the most, which I am free to talk about is that my best friend is moving several states away… I am heartbroken, but it’s what she wants and needs so I’ll support her as always.  Friends don’t stop being friends just because of distance – but I will miss her like crazy, and it will take some adjusting to before I stop sending FB messages of “Hey, you wanna go get lunch and vent?”… in the days before the pandemic.  But, life has to move on, so I’ll be happy for her, and her new adventure, and do my best to keep my tears to a minimum.

So… book-wise, I’ve read a bunch but not reviewed yet, and I need to get to that for this coming week.  I did pick up London’s Most Elusive Earl by Anabelle Bryant due out in October from NetGalley – but that was as far as my book gathering went for this week (for Keeper Bookshelf).  I do have a completely Shifter blog called Shifter Haven that I might begin showcasing with a weekly wrap-up as well for that is my escape place, for I can always find a quick Shifter Romance on KU, or continue a series when all else fails me.

I did, however, spend far too much money on houseplants and have lost myself in repotting and arranging these new beauties – it’s cheap therapy and I’ll grab it with both hands smiling. 🙂  That’s it for me this week.  I may not even put this up at Kimberly’s Caffeinated Reviewer for there isn’t much here aside from whine – and not the drinkable kind.  Hopefully, I’ll yank myself outta this funk and be more productive this coming week.  *fingers crossed*

As a book review blogger, I’m accustomed to being turned down for ARCs, and usually, it doesn’t truly faze me beyond a moment of disappointment and an “Oh, well, I’ll just buy it on release.” mindset.  Yet, I kept trying with one big publishing house for three years now – and still, the answer is No.

By their auto-response email definitions, I do meet their requirements for ARCs.  So, obviously, I’m missing something, not doing something… not good enough, not big enough, not “whatever” enough.  At this point, I’m just banging my head up against a wall – and I’m done with the headache, really, really done.

It would be easy to do the “reader revenge” thing by thinking “Ok, fine, I’ll just not buy any books from your publishing house ever again.  So there!  You’ve lost my significant money input.”  But the reality is I love so many of their authors, I’m hooked on so many series, I look forward to their new releases… and I don’t want to stop reading any of their books.

So.  Here’s the last “I’m so mad. So hurt. So disappointed.” post about the subject – and then, for my own well being, I’m simply letting it go and not asking again.  I think the world of today is playing heavily on my reaction.  I’m already somewhat depressed, antsy by being self-isolated for two months (so far) and that’s playing a part in how this simple rejection is affecting me.  I get that.  I acknowledge that.  But, sometimes I just have to say, “Ok, I tried.”  And let that be enough.

 

I rarely talk about my family’s private life on this blog.  After all, it’s about books, book plots, book reviews, and… well, reading.  So, I don’t often speak about my life outside of those books – sometimes, yes, but it’s not often.

Right now, because I’m so proud of the man my son has become – because of all the challenges he has met every single day of his life I’d like you to meet my kid (who will always be my kiddo but is now a fully grown man of his own).

 

 

It’s a crazy world out there, isn’t it?  The Coronavirus or COVID-19 is real, it’s not a hoax, it’s not a joke – it’s here on American shores and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.  It will get better, we simply have to get through the “Now” into the “Future” as best we can.

My family prepared, as much as we could, over the past few weeks.  My son and I both fall under that “risk category” – I’m 60+ with a history of lung issues, he’s immune system is already compromised.  So.  Shit got real for my family not this past week, but when the outbreak began and started to spread across the globe.  No, we do not have 100 packages of toilet paper (really people?), but we have the basics to get through this first panic-induced buying up everything on the shelves phase.  From here onwards we will do the best we can, that’s all any of us can do.  (Harley over there has her toys, her cat to torture, and her food so she’s got no cares in the world right now 🙂  Ah, the life of a pet.)

Although I knew this was coming our way (in spite of hoax talk from the highest level in our land), it still hit me over the last 3 or 4 days.  Am I scared?  Oh, hell yeah.  But.  We will get through this.  Still, I’ve not done much that I’d call productive lately.  Oh, I’ve read lots, but haven’t yet posted reviews.  I’ve spent mindless hours in video games escaping my own reality for a bit.  I look at that time as my own mourning for life as it was before the virus, and from today onward as life dealing with the impact of the virus on our lives.  For now, we do not have the Coronavirus.  We are definitely social distancing.  We both already work from home.  We are limiting contact with others, we are protecting ourselves as best we can – and can only hope that those friends who do not yet “get it” will eventually understand.  *shrugs*

What bothers me most, right now, is the attitude of some people who strongly believe that it’s only that 3% of the population who will die from this – and “they’re already old or disabled so it won’t affect me”.  Yeah, I’ve heard it on talk programs, in the news, read it on Twitter, Facebook, etc. – and it boggles my mind that someone could care less if they go out to a crowded bar, become infected or a carrier of the virus, come home to hug grandma and she comes down with COVID-19, but the “she’s old anyway” mindset is in place, family or strangers.  Just boggles my mind.

Anyway.  This is the world’s reality for the foreseeable future.  And we deal as best we can.

I’m going back to work.  I have reviews to write, very sad plants to transplant, laundry to do, and simply go on about my life.  What other choice is there, really?

So, my reading/book-loving friends — Be Safe Out There, Wash Your Hands! — hang tough, we will get through this, it’s just going to take time, caution, and lots of prayers.

I’ve been looking forward to today’s releases since I first heard of this project through Eve Langlais’ newsletter.  You can learn more through this group of amazing writers’ Facebook page HERE.  Or on their official website, Paranormal Women’s Fiction.  For the moment, these titles are in Kindle Unlimited, so if you have that subscription service through Amazon (which I thankfully do) then you can grab these books right now.  At some point, I know that, at least, Eve Langlais’ book will be going out of KU and to all markets in around ten days or so – I do not know if that is true for all of the titles in this project, but I’ll be checking out author websites later today and will update what I discover.

The reason I’m excited about these new titles and series is very simple.  Seasoned Paranormal Women’s Fiction.  Think of it as a new genre (which it’s not really since there are a lot of Paranormal Romance stories with women main characters who are over 35, but it is getting a lot more attention and releases recently which is a very good thing).  An exciting new road to travel for Paranormal stories of women who are no longer in the first blush of love but are probably at least over 35 (which is the starting age for “Seasoned Romance”), have lived life with all its beauty and ugliness and are moving on to something new – not always totally willingly.  So, yes, I’m excited to see Paranormal go into the Women’s Fiction genre in such a huge way with such a strong presence as these well known and loved authors will bring with them.

So.  Let’s get to the books!  If you’ll click on that “Read More” down in the corner, please, you’ll see the covers of all of these titles within this particular project.  To be completely honest with you each title is linked to the Amazon page where you can download or order these titles. So, full disclosure, these cover pictures have my Amazon Affiliate link in them.

As far as I’m aware, each of these titles is the beginning of a new series – which makes me a very happy reader.  I do not know if any or all will be in KU throughout that series, but you are getting in at the beginning of several new series when you check out these titles.  So… Happy Reading your Paranormal Women’s Fiction titles.  🙂

Oh, in no particular order, here are the websites, title, a link to the review done here at Keeper Bookshelf (book title link), and series for these books should you prefer a more direct to the author link:

Magical Midlife Madness by K. F. Breene (Leveling Up series)  Website Link

Midlife Bounty Hunter formerly Grave Magic Bounty by Shannon Mayer – New Cover (The Forty Proof series) Website Link

Betwixt by Darynda Jones (Betwixt & Between series)  Website link

Let It All Burn by Denise Grover Swank (From The Ashes series)  Website Link

Second Chance Magic by Michelle M. Pillow ( Order of Magic series)  Website Link

Cloudy with a Chance of Witchcraft by Mandy M. Roth (Grimm Cove series)  Website Link

Halfway There by Eve Langlais (Midlife Mulligan series)  Website Link

Wrong Side of Forty by Jana DeLeon (Marina at Midlife series)   Website Link

Witching for Grace by Deanna Chase (Premonition Pointe series)  Website Link

Suddenly Psychic by Elizabeth Hunter (Glimmer Lake series)  Website Link

It’s A Wonderful Midlife Crisis by Robyn Peterman (Good to the Last Death series)  Website Link

Writing Wrongs by Christine Gael (aka Christine Bell (CR), aka Chloe Cole (PNR) (Crow’s Feet Coven series)  Website Link

Sucks To Be Me by Kristen Painter (First Fangs Club series)  Website Link

 

Another crazy week in paradise!  Kinda.  Sorta.

This post has been shared on The Sunday Post, a weekly recap from so many amazing blogs hosted by Kimberly over at Caffeinated Reviewer.

It’s snowing outside right now.  Not a ton like my Northern friends are experiencing but enough to coat the roads – and it’s freezing out there.  Harley (my Sheltie) is doing her “No, it’s cold I don’t wanna go out.” thing again but treats work wonders for enticing her out into the cold and rewarding for a job well done.  🙂  Yeah, I’m sneaky like that.

An inside picture – but she’s still cute 🙂

 

Reviews this week include:

Some were ARCs, scheduled posts that went live this week (gosh, I love scheduled posts!) and I managed to read 3 titles that I bought in January which is one of my main goals this year – to actually read what I’ve bought in a more timely fashion.  So, not a bad week at all.

Decided to join some Challenges this year (again).  I’ve made the posts and a Reading Challenges 2020 page but I still have to go officially sign up for them all.  Scattered, at times my brain is so, so scattered.  There are more than usual, yet many can be crossed over from different Challenges so we’ll see.  It’s the fun of it that matters to me so maybe 2020 is the year I’ll remember to keep updated!  One can dream.

That’s about it.  No new purchases or ARCs this week – weird, I know, but there ya go.  I hope your week is full of good reading experiences.  🙂

Since I get e-ARCs from NetGalley throughout the year you’d think that it would be super easy to join in the fun at the 2020 New Release Challenge over at (un)Conventional Bookworms with Linda and Brandee, right?  Well.  The reading of new releases has never been the problem – it’s the remembering to go and actually link up that review that has been my downfall in previous years.  I have to figure out a better way, that’s all there is to it as far as a solution goes.  Anyway –

I’m joining the 2020 New Release Challenge for a different reason this year.  I’m trying to actually read the books I buy – novel concept, right?  In truth, they often end up on my TBR pile and then being part of a future “backlist” challenge.  *sigh*  So.  Although they would qualify, I’m not planning on counting the NetGalley ARCs for this challenge — I am counting the actual newly released books that I’ve purchased, read, and reviewed.  I need something to push me to read those newly purchased books nearer to their release date, and I believe this challenge may help form some new habits.  We shall see how it goes.

If you’d like to join in the fun then head over to the signup page with all the details through the text link above or the graphic link on the upper side of this post.  My goals?  I’m aiming for: 31-60 books per year – New Release Pro.  I believe I can do that level (at least for I buy a lot of books) the challenge is going to be in keeping everything, every place updated.  Hmmm… maybe there should be a Challenge to actually update our Challenges?  (grin) I’d sign up!  Good luck if you’re joining in the fun & happy reading times.

My list of actual read and reviewed New Releases is in the next section.


If you read books then you have a To Be Read list/pile/tower of doom — we all do.  They might be physical books on your bookshelf, ebooks stored on your e-readers, or simply books that you’ve written down somewhere to get to “someday”.  Yeah.  We all have TBR piles – and mine is so out of control it isn’t even the slightest bit funny in a haha kinda way but more of an Oh My Goodness what have I done! way.

I’m joining the NovelKnight 2020 Beat the Backlist Reading Challenge with a specific goal in mind.  You can also join or just check it all out at the text link above or by clicking on the graphic link at the top of this post.

I’m picking twenty (20) books from my bought but haven’t read yet TBR – all from various lines of Harlequin™.  This past year has been heavy with NetGalley ARC commitments, way more than I should have but put a book cover in front of me and I’m like a kid in a candy store — they all look so “good”.  But I’ve put the brakes on (or at least I’m tapping the brakes) so that I can get to some of my purchased books from 2019.  All of my adult reading life I have adored Harlequin.  Yet, I haven’t read as many or gotten caught up on ongoing series in recent years due to other online and real-life commitments.  That changes in 2020 as I’m taking more time for my own personal reading experiences and this challenge will work perfectly to help me keep on track to get those bought but not read books into my brain, my heart and off of my Kindle.  I’m determined.

My list of books will follow in the next section of this post.  When read and/or reviewed they will either be crossed out or linked to the review post here at Keeper Bookshelf.


I noticed a pattern in my purely for pleasure reading last year (not the NetGalley or ARCs reading) where it seems I’m picking up more re-telling of classic fairy-tales romances than I usually do.  I honestly seem to go in cycles on re-tellings and 2020 seems to be the year they are on my reading radar.

I decided to join the 2020 Retellings Reading Challenge hosted at Centerfolds this year.  I’ve joined in the past with, frankly, not much success so I’m hoping for a much better result this time around.

You can find all the rules, options, levels, and any information you could possibly need by following either the text link above or the graphic link on the side of this post.

I’m aiming for the “Warrior Princess: 6-10 Retellings” level this time.  I believe that is more than doable, and should I manage to read more – all the better.  🙂

If this sounds like fun, head on over to the sign-up page and check it out for yourself.  Good luck & happy reading challenges!

 

It’s so easy to get caught up in the “challenge madness” of the beginning of each new year.  January comes around and I’m ready to dive in to far more challenges than I can honestly handle – come on, they all sound so fun – but I’ve learned to be selective, to pick the ones that I have a chance of keeping up with given that there is always some “real life” not “reading life” issue that will crop up.

So when another blogger’s post about this challenge popped up in my feed I took a look – and yeah, 2020 Finishing the Series Reading Challenge really does fit in with my reading style and my own plan for the coming year.  (You can find out everything you need to know by clicking either on that text link above or on the graphic link over there <– )

More details are on the next page.

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