The month of February is over…month is short and gone by fast. I was hoping to read more this month but I had allowed my mood to cause me to not want to really read much.
February 2021 Wrap Up
I only read 2 books this month and still not in the mood to read to many fantasy books.
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna: I loved this book…I was part of book tour hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours in February. You can find my complete review here. This is the only fantasy book I read this month. Rating: 💜💜💜💜💜
In the Garden of Spite by Camilla Bruce: They whisper about her in Chicago. Men come to her with their hopes, their dreams–their fortunes. But no one sees them leave. No one sees them at all after they come to call on the Widow of La Porte. The good people of Indiana may have their suspicions, but if those fools knew what she’d given up, what was taken from her, how she’d suffered, surely they’d understand. Belle Gunness learned a long time ago that a woman has to make her own way in this world. That’s all it is. A bloody means to an end. A glorious enterprise meant to raise her from the bleak, colorless drudgery of her childhood to the life she deserves. After all, vermin always survive. This was good book…I couldn’t put it down and the ending wasn’t what I expected to be. Rating: 💚💚💚💚💚
This is what I read this month…hoping March will be better.
Here are the books I got in February.
What books did you read this month and which ones were your favorite reads? Brought any books this month?
Cold wintery February is coming to an end and March is around the corner. Here are some of the books that will be releasing in March that I am looking forward to reading.
~March 2, 2021~
By Amelie Wen Zhao
Fans of Children of Blood and Bone will love the sequel to Blood Heir. The second book in an epic fantasy series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the con man she must trust to liberate her empire from a dark reign.
Ana Mikhailov is the only surviving member of the royal family of Cyrilia. She has no army, no title, and no allies, and now she must find a way to take back the throne or risk the brutal retribution of the empress. Morganya is determined to establish a new world order on the spilled blood of non-Affinites. Ana is certain that Morganya won’t stop until she kills them all.
Ana’s only chance at navigating the dangerous world of her homeland means partnering with Ramson Quicktongue again. But the cunning crime lord has schemes of his own. For Ana to find an army, they must cross the Whitewaves to the impenetrable stone forts of Bregon. Only, no one can be certain what they will find there.
A dark power has risen. Will revolution bring peace–or will it only paint the streets in more blood.
Chain of Iron
By Cassandra Clare
The Shadowhunters must catch a killer in Edwardian London in this dangerous and romantic sequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling novel Chain of Gold, from New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Cassandra Clare. Chain of Iron is a Shadowhunters novel.
Cordelia Carstairs seems to have everything she ever wanted. She’s engaged to marry James Herondale, the boy she has loved since childhood. She has a new life in London with her best friend Lucie Herondale and James’s charming companions, the Merry Thieves. She is about to be reunited with her beloved father. And she bears the sword Cortana, a legendary hero’s blade.
But the truth is far grimmer. James and Cordelia’s marriage is a lie, arranged to save Cordelia’s reputation. James is in love with the mysterious Grace Blackthorn whose brother, Jesse, died years ago in a terrible accident. Cortana burns Cordelia’s hand when she touches it, while her father has grown bitter and angry. And a serial murderer is targeting the Shadowhunters of London, killing under cover of darkness, then vanishing without a trace.
Together with the Merry Thieves, Cordelia, James, and Lucie must follow the trail of the knife-wielding killer through the city’s most dangerous streets. All the while, each is keeping a shocking secret: Lucie, that she plans to raise Jesse from the dead; Cordelia, that she has sworn a dangerous oath of loyalty to a mysterious power; and James, that he is being drawn further each night into the dark web of his grandfather, the arch-demon Belial. And that he himself may be the killer they seek.
An Unexpected Peril
By Deanna Raybourn
A princess is missing, and a peace treaty is on the verge of collapse in this new Veronica Speedwell adventure from the New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-nominated author Deanna Raybourn.
January 1889. As the newest member of the Curiosity Club—an elite society of brilliant, intrepid women—Veronica Speedwell is excited to put her many skills to good use. As she assembles a memorial exhibition for pioneering mountain climber Alice Baker-Greene, Veronica discovers evidence that the recent death was not a tragic climbing accident but murder. Veronica and her natural historian beau, Stoker, tell the patron of the exhibit, Princess Gisela of Alpenwald, of their findings. With Europe on the verge of war, Gisela’s chancellor, Count von Rechstein, does not want to make waves—and before Veronica and Stoker can figure out their next move, the princess disappears.
Having noted Veronica’s resemblance to the princess, von Rechstein begs her to pose as Gisela for the sake of the peace treaty that brought the princess to England. Veronica reluctantly agrees to the scheme. She and Stoker must work together to keep the treaty intact while navigating unwelcome advances, assassination attempts, and Veronica’s own family—the royalty who has never claimed her.
The Lost Apothecary
By Sarah Penner
A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them—setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course
Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman.
Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.
One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.
In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.
Good Girl, Bad Blood (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder 2)
By Holly Jackson
The highly anticipated sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder! More dark secrets are exposed in this addictive, true-crime fueled mystery.
Pip is not a detective anymore.
With the help of Ravi Singh, she released a true-crime podcast about the murder case they solved together last year. The podcast has gone viral, yet Pip insists her investigating days are behind her.
But she will have to break that promise when someone she knows goes missing. Jamie Reynolds has disappeared, on the very same night the town hosted a memorial for the sixth-year anniversary of the deaths of Andie Bell and Sal Singh.
The police won’t do anything about it. And if they won’t look for Jamie then Pip will, uncovering more of her town’s dark secrets along the way… and this time everyone is listening. But will she find him before it’s too late?
~March 9, 2021~
Sing Me Forgotten
By Jessica S. Olsen
Isda does not exist. At least not beyond the opulent walls of the opera house.
Cast into a well at birth for being one of the magical few who can manipulate memories when people sing, she was saved by Cyril, the opera house’s owner. Since that day, he has given her sanctuary from the murderous world outside. All he asks in return is that she use her power to keep ticket sales high—and that she stay out of sight. For if anyone discovers she survived, Isda and Cyril would pay with their lives.
But Isda breaks Cyril’s cardinal rule when she meets Emeric Rodin, a charming boy who throws her quiet, solitary life out of balance. His voice is unlike any she’s ever heard, but the real shock comes when she finds in his memories hints of a way to finally break free of her gilded prison.
Haunted by this possibility, Isda spends more and more time with Emeric, searching for answers in his music and his past. But the price of freedom is steeper than Isda could ever know. For even as she struggles with her growing feelings for Emeric, she learns that in order to take charge of her own destiny, she must become the monster the world tried to drown in the first place.
~March 16, 2021~
Fire Keeper’s Daughter
By Angeline Boulley
Debut author Angeline Boulley crafts a groundbreaking YA thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community, for readers of Angie Thomas and Tommy Orange.
As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. Daunis dreams of studying medicine, but when her family is struck by tragedy, she puts her future on hold to care for her fragile mother.
The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team. Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, certain details don’t add up and she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into the heart of a criminal investigation.
Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, but secretly pursues her own investigation, tracking down the criminals with her knowledge of chemistry and traditional medicine. But the deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home.
Now, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go to protect her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.
By Adrienne Young
Trader. Fighter. Survivor.
With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and its crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when she becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems.
As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception she learns that her mother was keeping secrets, and those secrets are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save them then she must risk everything, including the boy she loves and the home she has finally found.
Filled with action, emotion, and lyrical writing, New York Times bestselling author Adrienne Young returns with Namesake, the final book in the captivating Fable duology.
~March 30, 2021~
Rule of Wolves (King of Scars Duology #2)
By Leigh Bardugo
The Grishaverse will be coming to Netflix soon with Shadow and Bone, an original series!
The wolves are circling and a young king will face his greatest challenge in the explosive finale of the instant #1 New York Times-bestselling King of Scars Duology.
The Demon King. As Fjerda’s massive army prepares to invade, Nikolai Lantsov will summon every bit of his ingenuity and charm—and even the monster within—to win this fight. But a dark threat looms that cannot be defeated by a young king’s gift for the impossible.
The Stormwitch. Zoya Nazyalensky has lost too much to war. She saw her mentor die and her worst enemy resurrected, and she refuses to bury another friend. Now duty demands she embrace her powers to become the weapon her country needs. No matter the cost.
The Queen of Mourning. Deep undercover, Nina Zenik risks discovery and death as she wages war on Fjerda from inside its capital. But her desire for revenge may cost her country its chance at freedom and Nina the chance to heal her grieving heart.
King. General. Spy. Together they must find a way to forge a future in the darkness. Or watch a nation fall.
What are some of the new releases for March are you looking forward? Leave me a comment and I will check them out.
Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings based on the meme Waiting on Wednesday by Breaking the Spine. In this weekly post people share a book that they’re excited about being released.
It has been awhile participating in Can’t Wait Wednesday. I looking forward to showing which book that I am looking forward to be release.
Book 2 in the Lady Slayers series, about French murderess and fortune teller Catherine Monvoisin
In 17th-century Paris, 19-year-old Catherine Monvoisin is a well-heeled jeweler’s wife with a peculiar taste for the arcane. She lives a comfortable life, far removed from a childhood of abject destitution—until her kind spendthrift of a husband lands them both in debt. Hell-bent on avoiding a return to poverty, Catherine must rely on her prophetic visions and the grimoire gifted to her by a talented diviner to reinvent herself as a sorceress. With the help of the grifter Marie Bosse, Catherine divines fortunes in the IIle de la Citee—home to sorcerers and scoundrels.
There she encounters the Marquise de Montespan, a stunning noblewoman. When the Marquise becomes Louis XIV’s royal mistress with Catherine’s help, her ascension catapults Catherine to notoriety. Catherine takes easily to her glittering new life as the Sorceress La Voisin, pitting the depraved noblesse against one other to her advantage. The stakes soar ever higher when her path crosses with that of a young magician. A charged rivalry between sorceress and magician leads to Black Masses, tangled deceptions, and grisly murder—and sets Catherine on a collision course that threatens her own life.
Welcome to my spot on the book tour for Bloodsworn (Ashlords #2) by Scott Reintgen hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours.
About the Book
Bloodsworn (Ashlords #2) by Scott Reintgen
Genre:Young Adult Fantasy
Publishing Date: February 16, 2021
Three cultures clash in all out war–against each other and against the gods–in the second book of this fantasy duology that’s sure to capture fans of The Hunger Games and An Ember in the Ashes.
The Races are over. War has begun.
Ashlord and Longhand armies battle for control of the Empire as Dividian rebels do their best to survive the crossfire. This is no longer a game. It’s life or death.
Adrian, Pippa, and Imelda each came out of the Races with questions about their role in the ongoing feud. The deeper they dig, the clearer it is that the hatred between their peoples has an origin point: the gods.
Their secrets are long-buried, but one disgruntled deity is ready to unveil the truth. Every whisper leads back to the underworld. What are the gods hiding there? As the sands of the Empire shift, these heroes will do everything they can to aim their people at the true enemy. But is it already too late?
Scott Reintgen is an author of science fiction and fantasy books. He wrote the Nyxia trilogy, as well as Saving Fable, Escaping Ordinary (Fall 2020), Ashlords and Bloodsworn (2021). He began his career as an English and Creative Writing teacher in North Carolina. He strongly believes that every student who steps into the classroom deserves to see themselves, vibrant and victorious and on the page. It’s his hope to encourage a future full of diverse writers. He currently lives in North Carolina with his wife Katie and his two boys, Henry and Thomas.
Welcome to my promo spot for Of Silver and Shadow by Jennifer Gruenke hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours.
About the Book
Of Silver and Shadow by Jennifer Gruenke
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publishing Date: February 16, 2021
Ren Kolins is a silver wielder—a dangerous thing to be in the kingdom of Erdis, where magic has been outlawed for a century. Ren is just trying to survive, sticking to a life of petty thievery, card games, and pit fighting to get by. But when a wealthy rebel leader discovers her secret, he offers her a fortune to join his revolution. The caveat: she won’t see a single coin until they overthrow the King.
Behind the castle walls, a brutal group of warriors known as the King’s Children is engaged in a competition: the first to find the rebel leader will be made King’s Fang, the right hand of the King of Erdis. And Adley Farre is hunting down the rebels one by one, torturing her way to Ren and the rebel leader, and the coveted King’s Fang title. But time is running out for all of them, including the youngest Prince of Erdis, who finds himself pulled into the rebellion. Political tensions have reached a boiling point, and Ren and the rebels must take the throne before war breaks out.
Jennifer Gruenke is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara, where she studied communication and writing. She grew up among the redwoods of Northern California, and now lives in Charlotte with her books and the houseplants she hasn’t killed yet. If she’s not writing or reading, you’re most likely to find her in a cafe, music venue, or the aisles of Trader Joe’s.
Welcome to my stop on the tour for Woods of Silver and Light (Storyteller’s Series #2) by Victoria McCombs hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. Check out this beautiful cover!
Woods of Silver and Light (Storyteller’s Series #2)
By Victoria McCombs
Publishing Date: February 9, 2021
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Retelling
Ronin’s son is dead, and Maid Marion is gone. But a sorceress banished to the Woods can bring his son back if he and his Silver Raiders are willing to do something for her first. She finds there’s nothing Ronin Hood won’t do for his son…
Anika finds herself drawn to the mystery of the Woods and the thieves who live within, but the cost of associating with the Silver Raiders becomes higher than she’s willing to pay. The darkness of the Woods seeps into the Raider’s hearts, blurring the lines between hero and villain, until Anika’s fight for freedom turns into a fight to survive the magic of the trees that should have never been awoken.
Some of the things I love most in this world are peppermint hot chocolate, peanut butter ice cream, golfing dates, Jesus, and game nights with family. And of course, books.
Fairytales were my first love. I became obsessed with the idea that if one was brave enough, they could defeat dragons, and that true love was real. I met my true love in college, and together we raise out two boys. I have my dad to thank for teaching me to love writing, and my mom to thank for allowing us to keep a wall of medieval weapons in the house, which curated my love for that time period.
My dream is to write vivid worlds and charming characters that will leave an imprint on my reader’s hearts, the way that so many books have done for me.
Welcome to my spot on the book tour for The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. I received a copy of the book last year and I was excited to finally get a chance to read it.
The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1)
By Namina Forna
Publishing Date: February 8, 2021
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.
But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity – and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.
Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki-near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.
Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city hold many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be-not even Deka herself.
Namina Forna is a young adult novelist based in Los Angeles, and the author of the upcoming epic fantasy YA novel The Gilded Ones. Originally from Sierra Leone, West Africa, she moved to the US when she was nine and has been traveling back and forth ever since. Namina has an MFA in film and TV production from USC School of Cinematic Arts and a BA from Spelman College. She works as a screenwriter in LA and loves telling stories with fierce female leads.
I have taken off of reading fantasy books because I was getting burned out on the YA fantasy being written with the same theme and it was getting a little too boring for me so I was a little worried that The Gilded Ones would be the same. I am glad to say that it isn’t, I really loved this book. It was refreshing to read a story that had diverse strong female characters.
The story is high fantasy but it does have a lot of topics which deals with racism, misogyny, inequality, abuse, feminism which has diverse empowering characters. The main character Deka is put through hell when it is discovered that she is a demon that was heartbreaking and was hard to read at times. But with everything she went through, we see her grow into a strong female.
Forna did a great job with developing the world and showcasing all of the characters in the story. Even though there were a lot of cringeworthy parts of the story, it is something that was necessary for the story because it shows how these female characters were treated by their male counterparts and how they became stronger to get passed those misogyny beliefs.
The best part of the book for me was friendships between Deka and her bloodsisters. Their friendship deveolped to be strong and they had each other backs. It was refreshing to see it a YA fantasy because they weren’t there to compete with each other but to be there to uplift each other.
I really loved this book and I am looking forward for the next book in The Deathless series.
Click the picture to go to the book tour schedule and checkout the rest of the bloggers posts.
Also please check the below virtual tour schedule for The Gilded Ones.
Welcome to stop for the blog tour Fat Chance, Charlie Vega hosted by Hear Our Voices Book Tours. I was excited to see they were doing another book tour for Puerto Rican’s author because I don’t see them often. I don’t usually read contemporary books but this interested me and I wanted to read what it was about and I am glad I did.
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega
By: Crystal Maldonado
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Genre: YA Fiction
Coming of age as a Fat brown girl in a white Connecticut suburb is hard. Harder when your whole life is on fire, though.
Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.
People sometime have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom, Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter.
But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with a cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing — he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? UGHHH. Everything is now official a MESS.
A sensitive, funny, and painful coming-of-age story with a wry voice and tons of chisme, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega tackles our relationships to our parents, our bodies, our cultures, and ourselves.
Crystal Maldonado is a young adult author with a lot of feelings. Her debut novel, FAT CHANCE, CHARLIE Vega (Holiday House), will be released on Feb. 2, 2021.
By day, she is a social media manager working in higher ed, and by night, a writer who loves Beyonce, shopping, the internet, and being extra. She lives in western Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and dog.
Growing up as brown, glass wearing girl, I would have loved to have a book that the main character represented me in the story. I was not fat growing up but I did relate to how Charlie felt when her mom would nag her about her weight and make comments that were hurtful. My grandma (loved her) would always make comments about my weight and about how big my butt and hips were which she would always say that I needed to try harder to lose more weight. She didn’t just do it to me, she would do it to her daughters, cousins and she even did it to my 5 years son at the time. That is when I finally told her that she needed to keep her remarks to herself and that she needed to look in mirror when remarking on anyone being fat. It is the reason why my mom had ED growing up because her mom (grandma) would make those comments to her constantly and it is the reason why my mom didn’t do it to me and my sister growing up.
One of the other areas that I related to Charlie when it came to her self-esteem, even though I was not overweight I still struggle with how my appearance was and how kids would bully me because I was brown, had glasses, didn’t dress well and was a complete nerdy tomboy growing up. I was a really introvert person who would shy away from people because I didn’t want see them pass judgement about me without even getting to know me first. Middle Grade was the worse but when I went to Catholic high school where we all had to wear uniforms and I was finally attending a school where my cousin/best friend was going too, I started to feel a lot more confident about myself and started to realize that I didn’t need to be just like everyone. I started to realize that being different is ok and being unique was great and I kept that mindset as an adult.
I did have a great relationships with my cousins compare to Charlie, I always looking forward to getting together and having parties with them. It was the highlights of growing up for me and especially look forward to summers because we always had my family gatherings. Also, I miss my mom’s making Puerto Rican food and me eating it. It is something that regret that I never learn her recipes.
This book is great and I would definitely recommend it brown girls that are struggling with their weight, their self-esteem and struggling with their relationship with their parents to pick up this book because it will give the encouragement to not only be yourself but to accept yourself for being who you are met to be.
I really loved Charlie Vega and the rest of characters but I didn’t really care much for her mom because she reminded me to much of how my grandma would make comments about weight, it brought back some memories that I had forgotten about.
I am looking forward to seeing what other books that Crystal Maldonado brings to us.
“I’ve seen what’s it like to be a true outcast, and I just don’t want to give anyone ammunition to make that my reality, so I only let them know a perfectly controlled version of me and my life.”
“What I mean is a book specifically about a fat Puerto Rican girl with glasses. I’ve never once read a story about one, and something about that has always made me feel devastatingly alone.”
“I think about my body, about all of its imperfections, and I don’t necessarily see beauty. Yet. But I’m working on it.”
Hello! February is here and it is getting colder out too. Below is my TBR for February…lately I have been letting my mood to select what I want to read. I am a burn out on YA Fantasy right now and I am trying to put more books into my TBR that I know I would like to read and not give up on the book.
I do have some e-ARCs that I will be reading this month for blog tours.
In the Garden of Spite by Camilla Bruce
All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda (TBR and Beyond Book Club Monthly Group Read)
The Vanished Bride (Bronte Sisters Mystery #1) by Bella Ellis
The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1) by Namina Forna (TBR and Beyond Tours Blog tour)
TBR and Beyond Book Club monthly challenge is about finding your one true bookish love. It is like the Dating Game with 6 doors that hold bookish character. There is still time to sign up for the group and the game.
For the challenge I selected contestant #6.
Prompts for contestant #6:
Read a book with a murder or about a serial killer:The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
Read book with a supernatural element: Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan
Read a Historical Fiction: In the Garden of Spite by Camilla Bruce
Read book with a strong female character: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Hoping to get these books done before the end of February so I can move onto another prompt.
Reading Rivalry is a monthly theme reading challenge. This month theme is fantasy and I am in the The Kingdom of Grimdark.
For this challenge, I am going to use books from my TBR that I am reading this month.
What are you going to be reading for February? Are you doing any reading challenges?