September included the Lincoln Arts Festival (where I won an award!) and a second trip to Canada. I only watched one movie (Ready or Not, which was a fun horror-comedy romp) and I am still working my way through the games Control and Greedfall, but I do have a few book recommendations for the month. Plus, I finally got to see a production of Hamilton, which checks a big box on the bucket list.
How to Belong with a Billionaire (Alexis Hall)
This is one of my very favorite romance series and the final book came out this month (yay!). The first book begins with lovable hot-mess Arden working a phone-a-thon where he calls past Oxford graduates and asks them for donations to the school. When he dials the number of aloof billionaire Caspian Hart we get an adorable over-the-phone meet-cute which leads to attraction which leads to a misunderstanding and then an on-again off-again relationship filled with passion, angst, drama, uncertainty, dark pasts, and sexy sex. In How to Belong with a Billionaire, Arden and Caspian finally get their happy ending, but it takes a lot of work to get there. What’s extra interesting about this book is that it focuses much more on Arden’s life without Caspian (book 2 ended with a break-up) than it does on the two getting back together. Belong values the importance of Arden figuring out his own life and loving himself before he has a strong enough foundation to figure out a relationship. It was an unexpected narrative direction and it totally works. These books are so good. ❤️
Swordheart (T. Kingfisher)
When a widow inherits the fortune of her late husband’s elderly uncle, she also inherits a collection of conniving in-laws and a magic sword that houses the spirit of a disgraced warrior. Said magic sword spirit helps her escape the home of the dastardly extended family and the two go on a journey to hire a lawyer (who is part of an excellent rat-based religion) to help get the contested inheritance back. There is a bit of romance, but this book is mostly a road-trip story and I really liked it. The characters and dialogue are particularly good and I did a lot of chuckling into my kindle. Swordheart takes place the same strange, fantasy-ish world as a number of other T. Kingfisher books, all of which I immediately added to my “to read” pile.
Work for it (Talia Hibbert)
The first Talia Hibbert book I read (A Girl Like Her) didn’t really work for me, but I had a much better experience with Work for It. This contemporary romance follows an isolated, lonely country man and a damaged, lonely city man who meet during a small village’s flower picking festival. There is an instant connection, a rejection, a short period as enemies, and then a really sweet blossoming companionship. The book focuses a lot on the need to talk about problems instead of just letting them simmer or go misunderstood. Be prepared for a lot of angst but also a satisfying HEA.
DIE Volume 1 (by Kieron Gillen & Stephanie Hans (Artist))
A group of teenagers sit down to play a special pen-and-paper RPG and are transported into a hellish game-inspired universe for two years. When they return, they all refuse to speak about the experience and are thoroughly messed up emotionally. Many years later, now in their forties, the group ends up back in the universe they thought they had left and things are much worse. This series both dissects fantasy gaming culture and also pays tribute to it in interesting ways. It took me a while to get the characters straight (i kept having to go to the beginning to remind myself who everyone was) and to get into the right mindset for the story, but I ended up liking it and plan to continue on to volume two.
This month I finished up a blue-tailed skink collage for the Lincoln Arts Festival, plus a little Iron Giant tribute for Gallery1988’s annual Crazy4Cult show. I’m in a blue and orange mood apparently.
The plan for October includes finishing another lizard piece that is currently in progress and maybe trying to move my web-store to a different host since Etsy’s insistence on punishing sellers who can’t offer free shipping feels like the final straw.