Monthly Wrap Up – February 2023

Wow, tomorrow is the first day of March already! Is it just me or is time going by much faster? Except the time I spend at work feels like a crawl?

Well, in terms of reading, I wouldn’t say that February was a spectacular month. I finished two books, which is twice as much as January! Horray! Not amazing, I know, but I’m getting back into reading a little at a time.

My other hobbies seem to have exploded as well. I’ve got crochet, cross stitch and jewelry projects all ongoing. Sometimes, there’s so much that I want to do that I don’t know where to start and I just sit there and stare into space while my brain goes a million miles a minute with ideas. It’s exhausting and at the same time, it keeps me from sleeping, as I’m thinking about the different things I want to do and try.

The important thing is that I am reading. That I’m doing things that I enjoy.

February is not a good month for me. On February 23, 2021 I had to say goodbye to my best friend of over 15 years. He was the sweetest most cuddly cat in the world. I miss him horribly. He was quite sick leading up to it and he was extra clingy before I had to make that choice. Due to living circumstances I haven’t been able to get another cat.

Things like crotchet and cross stitch are very good for distracting the mind. You can to count and keep track of rows and rounds, which really doesn’t leave room for any other thoughts. Reading on the other hand, can allow my mind to drift. I’m reading but I’m not absorbing and I hate doing that.

I started reading Heir to Sevenwaters a few days ago and so far I am loving it. My mind isn’t wandering while reading and I’m really happy about that.

I hope March proves to be a good month. I will continue on with Heir to Sevenwaters, followed by the rest of the books in the series. I also have some books I accepted review requests on so I should probably get to those soon as well.

Thanks for reading and for fun, here’s a picture of my hamster, Po.

Fantasy Book Review – The Last Keeper by J.V. Hilliard


A young boy’s prophetic visions.
Blind at birth, Daemus Alaric is blessed with the gift of prophetic Sight. Now, as a Keeper of the Forbidden, he must use his powers of the Sight to foil the plans of a fallen Keeper, Graytorris the Mad.

An elven Princess with a horrifying secret.
Princess Addilyn Elspeth travels from Eldwal, the magically hidden home of the Vermilion elves, to begin her life as a diplomat to the human capital of Castleshire. During her journey, she stumbles upon a mystical creature foretelling ill tidings.

A terrifying force of evil.
Daemus’ recurring nightmare vision threatens to catapult him into a terrifying struggle that will leave the fate of the Keepers—and the realm—hanging in the balance. Daemus and Princess Addilyn must set out to face the menace that threatens their very existence.

Will the entire realm fall to its knees?
The Last Keeper is the first book in The Warminster Series. With gripping, epic action and heart-pounding adventure, you’ll love this new adventure series.

When I first started reading this book, I was in the beginning of a pretty bad reading slump. I couldn’t focus. There seemed like there were a lot of characters and I just couldn’t keep track of who was who. I had to stop as I knew I wasn’t doing this book justice by continuing. When my focus did return, I decided to start this book over from the beginning, which I’m very glad I did. The way I felt about the book completely changed. There weren’t too many characters, how could I not keep track of them in the first place? I don’t know if was because I’d already read the beginning that I absorbed more on the second attempt or if I was just back to normal in terms of reading. I’m going to go with the latter as what I hadn’t read the first time continued to feel fresh and exciting.

From the beginning, I didn’t quite know what to expect, which was great. As the first book in a series, there is a lot of set up going on, introducing characters, establishing the world and it’s rules. Thankfully, I didn’t feel like I was being told about the world. The author has an amazing was of describing things that feels natural and really helps a visual person like me picture the characters and events. Everything feels incredibly natural and the words just flow so well.

The characters are all very interesting and I have to say that I really love the diversity of the races in this world. There are people with crimson eyes or blue skin. Although there are what is known as trollborn – which are basically half breeds – that are sometimes looked down upon or discriminated, there are so many of them that it isn’t as horrible as it could be. I’m not really explaining that correctly. There are some that would say “trollborn” with scorn but most don’t. They are simply a part of the world as a whole.

If there was one think I didn’t like, it was how often the point of view would change during tense scenes. For instance, in the middle of a battle, the POV would constantly switch after a couple of paragraphs from one side of the battle to the other, from one character to another. I think this novel could have benefitted from showing less of what the villainous side was up to. Sometimes, as the reader, I prefer not to know everything . It can be too much information and I lose track of what character knows what.

Overall, this is an excellent novel. I never found it predictable, it was exciting, tense and emotional. It also ended on quite the cliffhanger so I’ll be needing the next book sooner rather than later.

My rating for The Last Keeper is 4 out of 5 stars and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a fresh and exciting fantasy novel.

Thanks for reading!

Book Review – In Full Color by Rachel Dolezal

Before I begin this review, I want to say that I am not the type of person who pays a lot of attention to the news, nor am I American, so I had no idea who Rachel Dolezal was until I saw her documentary on Netflix. I found the documentary very interesting, perhaps more so because I had no previous knowledge of the media storm that had become her life and therefore, had no bias going in. It was from the documentary that I learned about this book and I decided to add it to my Christmas list. My brother was kind enough to get it for me and I was excited to read it.

I’m really glad I went into this with no preconceived notions about her or her life. I was able to read this with no real expectations and I think that going that way allowed me to simply absorb her life story without judgement.

Rachel Dolezal did not have an easy life from the very beginning. Her parents were horrible people, her older brother molested her and when her parents decided to adopt four babies within a year, she basically became a live-in free nanny.

I actually don’t want to say too much about her life, as I think it’s better to read this book knowing as little about her as possible. This book is well written and written from her heart. It’s clear she wants people to understand her better and really, there was no other way than writing a book. So many people have judged her and jumped to conclusions. The hate she has directed at her is not deserved. She tried her entire life to help others, to make life better for Black Americans. She should be seen as an inspiration, not a liar and pariah.

I’m not BIPOC, so I can never understand that perspective. I can never understand what it is like to grow up as a Black person in America. I can however, relate to her feelings of “other” of being on the outside, of not fitting in. I think a lot of people experience this, especially in their formative years, but as a society, we never talk about it. We’re expected to behave in a certain way, to see ourselves in a certain way, so that when we don’t others can’t understand.

Identity is something that is spoken of a lot nowadays. There’s gender identity, racial identity, etc. Society is on the path to being more inclusive and diverse, of recognizing that people don’t always identify with the gender they are born with. So, I wonder, is feeling that you are more connected to a different race that much different? I don’t know the answer to that and wouldn’t presume to give an answer.

Mostly, I feel like this book and Rachel Dolezal’s life and subsequent media scandal is very thought provoking. I can’t help but wonder where she would be now had that particular interview never occurred. Certainly, she wouldn’t be harassed online nearly as much. Which is another thing that bothers me. Having read this book about her life, she truly doesn’t deserve the harassment she and her family get. Telling her son that his mother should kill herself, calling a new born baby the N word. How does saying stuff like that online make those people any better than they perceive her to be? In my eyes, it makes them worse. Hate her all you want, telling someone that they are a family member should kill themselves is NOT ok. I wish people would stop and think before they post horrible things like that.

I’m sure very few, if anyone, will read this post, and I know this isn’t much of a review of the book itself, and if anyone does read this, I could get some hate directed at me for saying what I have, but I also feel like it needs to be said.

I would truly recommend that people read this book. I would encourage going into it with an open mind and try to forget anything you may have seen in the media. I’m giving this book 5 out of 5 stars as it was probably one of the most though provoking books I’ve ever read.

Thank you for reading and please give it a chance!