The Lily Cafe Weekly Highlights – May 19, 2023

At Home

This past week has actually been quite uninteresting. We’re starting to get ready for summer vacation and our first family vacation ever in July, so lots of prep work (mostly buying clothes) has been going on. My son isn’t really interested in buying clothes, but my daughter is in rainbow unicorn heaven. Her Kindergarten graduation dress is even half rainbows. I’ve been spending the past week not thinking about how close that event is getting and instead wading through all the unicorns I now live with.

It’s actually been kind of restful at home, which is nice since it’s been kind of crazy since March. I have my kids’ summer work all planned out, and I’m looking into some fun activities to sign them up for. Otherwise I spend a lot of time telling my cat I can’t give her a treat every day. When she isn’t meowing at me, it’s quiet, so I’m enjoying the peace. Even if my daughter did spend one day at home with me due to really bad allergies.

I think the most interesting things I’ve come across this week has been some old news that have just completely passed me by. One was discovering Book Depository closed back in April. I never bought any books through them, but I do list it as a site to get books in my Book Highlight posts. That’s the only reason I found out: a link I was trying to get no longer existed because, well, Book Depository had closed. Even older than that, though, is discovering Amazon’s Kindle Rewards beta program, which started back in October. I found myself in the possession of an Amazon gift card recently and decided to get some books I’d been eyeing for a while, only to discover each purchase would net me some points? I clearly haven’t been purchasing books through Amazon, either, so probably saw this thing about points but never paid attention. I don’t know why my profile was chosen to be included in their beta program since I’m gifted far more books than I buy, but I’m interested to see how it works.

Book Impressions

Chevrons Locked: The Unofficial Unauthorized Oral History of Stargate SG-1, The First 25 Years by Edward Gross

chevrons locked the unofficial unauthorized oral history of stargate sg 1 the first

First Impression: I can credit Star Trek: TNG and Stargate SG-1 as the foundation for my interest in science fiction. I have never been, nor do I ever see myself being, a fan of Star Wars. No, it was mostly Stargate that got me interested in space, and I still love the fond memories of my mom and I sitting together in front of the TV enjoying the team’s travels and all the funny and serious things they had to deal with. So I’m very excited for the chance to read this book. I have no idea what it contains, and I’m definitely not a fan of nonfiction, but, when you’re given a chance to grab a piece of your childhood? I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling knee-deep in the nostalgia these days, so I’m delighted to have the chance to read this one.

Middle Impression This is split in half where the first half is full of interview snippets designed to be reminiscent of an interview-style TV show and the second is an episode guide. Since I think the interviews were done over time and individually, some of the snippets didn’t quite fit perfectly with each other and the information tended to be very repetitive, but there were still some interesting nuggets I learned, especially when it came to behind the scenes.

Last Impression: It’s time for me to watch this show again. Seriously, though, I had a lot of fun reading this. Some of the interview material did get a little too repetitive and the episode guide was clearly written for readers that were far more familiar with every single episode than I am, but it was still fun to kind of relive some of my favorite episodes. Overall a fun read.

Crazy Sweet by Lisa Volz

First Impression: I’ve enjoyed a couple of other books by Lisa, so I’m delighted to be able to review this one. Crazy Sweet sounds right up my alley with baking sprinkled with romance. I know I usually prefer murder to go along with my baking, but this one sounds like a lot of fun considering it’s about culinary school nemeses. I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

Current Progress: 16%. It appears this book is split between the baking competition where our main characters, Nova and Dylan, encounter each other again after finishing culinary school and a second show that comes along for them later on. Since I just started this, I’m in the baking competition part. I don’t know how accurate it is, but it’s a lot of fun to get a “behind the scenes” look at a baking show. I really like all the competitors, though Dylan is already driving me nuts and I’m now curious how the romance will play out.

Mini Reviews

The Malevolent Seven by Sebastien De Castell

the malevolent seven sebastien de castell

The description for The Malevolent Seven sounded like a lot of fun, and I found the idea of the main character being not a good guy very appealing. I hoped for something fun and different, but I felt like I was dropped in a group of bad guys who had far too much heart and they ended up in what felt like a battle between heaven and hell. It was fun to read with some interesting travels, but I expected a story full of broken mages who are the bad guys going up against mages who are supposed to be worse than them, which I didn’t feel like I got.

First of all, this book lost my interest probably about a quarter of the way through. I really enjoyed the beginning and wanted to settle into a fun story about people with not much of a moral compass. And then I got stuck in the same scene for multiple chapters, and the molasses pace just didn’t work for me. It became mildly interesting soon after, but I wasn’t really blown away by the gathering of the rest of the crew. They ended up on a side quest that was fun, but felt like it took too much of the book to get through, and then the second half hit and it felt like a race downhill.

But I think my biggest problem was Cade’s characterization. In the first half, he seemed like a halfway decent bad guy. I liked him. But, as I got to know his backstory, he suddenly seemed less interesting to me. I didn’t like that he seemed kind of clueless at the beginning only to be revealed to have certain deductive skills that were then very well played at the end, but kind of felt like it came out of left field after the first half. I did like the other mages and creatures around him. The blood mage was delightful, and his friend felt very much like a suitable bad guy. I kind of wonder what the story would read like if he had been the one telling the story. All the characters had unique and interesting personalities that made them a fun group, but the story is told from Cade’s perspective and I’m not sure I enjoyed his characterization enough to really like this book.

I felt like this story was trying to do a little too much, so it definitely followed what I expected from the description, but it also followed some other tangents I wasn’t expecting, or, really, liked. I had hoped for quite a showdown at the end, which I got, but not in the sense I expected. I also wasn’t expecting a quest to take about somewhere around a quarter of the book, nor was I counting on what felt like a battle between heaven and hell. It lent itself nicely to the magic system, which was interesting, but only truly understandable if one reads through the Author’s Note at the end. I did enjoy the humor peppered throughout, but I felt like too much was thrown at this story, so it felt overly long.

Now, there were some things I did enjoy. I loved the blood mage and the boy she was close to before she became a blood mage. She was fascinating and I enjoyed reading about the changes she underwent. The reveal about the boy was also really wonderful and I loved it. I also loved the demon Cade deals with. He was so much fun and I found myself hoping to see him more often.

The Malevolent Seven delivers what it promised, but also added a lot more than I expected or wanted. I wasn’t a huge fan of Cade, though I liked the rest of his group. I loved the magic system, but disliked the heaven vs. hell type story line. I really enjoyed the end, but the first half felt far too slow and the quest felt a little too long. Overall, not a terrible story, but not quite for me.

3 cups of tea

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

Featured Posts From the Cafe

I actually feel kind of successful this week. Well, a little more so than the past few weeks, at least. Instead of this post, something on Wednesday, and Book Highlights, I actually got a book review for an indie book up! Annie’s Apple by John A. Heldt has me believing I might actually enjoy historical fiction, but the siblings this series follows really have my heart. I also wrote about how this year seems to be all about reclaiming my childhood, which has been fun, and I’ve really enjoyed living in nostalgia lately. This past week’s Book Highlights have included The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season by Molly Fader, From Bad to Cursed by Lana Harper, The Savage Garden by Mark Mills, and In the Shadow Garden by Liz Parker. Those had me running through women’s fiction/romance, urban fantasy, a slow thriller, and one that combined magical realism, mystery, and romance.

That Writing Update

.Despite a quieter week, I didn’t get much writing done. Most of my time was spent on chores, a couple of medical appointments, my daughter being home for a day, and trying to catch up on my blog posts. I did manage to work on The Queens once, but the second day I had hoped to have time to work on it, well, my daughter had really bad allergies and I didn’t want her going outside at school. As for Coming Home, well, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about it, but not much writing.

Featured Blog Post

Each week I aim to share my favorite post of the week. This week I really enjoyed The Stigma Behind Mental Illness from Degrees of Maternity. Not only is Jana just a lovely, really thoughtful lady, but she always writes incredibly well on topics that really matter and can help with self-improvement and self-understanding. This post in particular really caught my eye as mental health is something very close to my heart. I really enjoyed her thoughtful post that so sweetly conveyed that no matter how much someone is struggling, there’s always someone out there who cares.

See you next week, and thanks for reading!

9 thoughts on “The Lily Cafe Weekly Highlights – May 19, 2023

  1. Kat, my dear. Thank you so much for featuring this blog post in your weekly highlights to your wonderful audience. I truly do appreciate it. And just as you stated, mental health is a subject “very close to my heart,” as well. And so, I’ll continue to use the Degrees of Maternity platform to provide awareness as well as to encourage others who need some uplifting, encouragement, and positive motivation to seek life improvement inspite of the circumstances. And on a lighter note, YOUR BABY IS GETTING READY TO GRADUATE KINDERGARTEN! Whoo hoo! How exciting! I bet this school year went by fast for your household, but not. (I’m sure you know what I mean.) Your babies are growing up, though. My youngest just turned 13. So, MY BABY is officially a teenager now! Boy, time sure goes by in lightning speed these days. Oh, and I’m so excited that you have some fun activities planned for the kiddos this summer. You’ll have to share with me (oh, don’t let me be selfish — I mean . . . share with all of us here at The Lily Cafe) and let us know what you have planned and how it’s going. Us, inquiring parents, want to know; because video games just aren’t going to be the focal point for our children ALL SUMMER LONG. Hee. Hee. And, any helpful tips are much appreciated. And in closing, I want to thank you again, Kat. You are such a blessing to me and Degrees of Maternity. Have a great weekend, my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jana, I love everything you’ve been doing with and on your blog! I’ve been left with plenty to think about. Though I don’t often have time to comment on anyone’s blogs these days, I do want you to know I read every one of your posts and really love everything you have to share and teach. I find myself constantly feeling motivated whenever I read one of your posts, and I must say I’m just in awe of everything you’ve accomplished and still are rolling out. I always look forward to everything! And, my goodness, this year just flew by! I’m so not ready for my daughter to be done with Kindergarten. It boggles my mind sometimes that we’re even having college conversations with them. I can’t believe your little boy is a teen! In my mind he’s still 10. What an exciting time, and time truly does fly. It’s hard to believe our little ones are getting to be so big and so much older than just a few years ago. I’m so incredibly excited for our summer work this year. It’s not easy to keep a child focused on educational work during the summer, but no one ever said it couldn’t be fun, and they definitely won’t be doing video games all summer! We’ll be chasing a diamond thief across the world and the kids will get clues when they finish a portion of their summer work/activities, so we get to do review work and geography. I’m excited, too, because there are so many countries I don’t know much about. I’ll definitely be writing about it every week! Oh, and I’m always happy to share your posts whenever I can! You have so many wonderful things to share; it wouldn’t be right for me to keep it all to myself and not let everyone who reads my blog in on all your wonderful wisdom. I hope you have a lovely weekend as well!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kat – I feel so incredibly fortunate to have met you on this online platform we fondly know as the blogosphere. I couldn’t have asked for a greater experience than to meet another woman, wife, mom, blogger/writer/author who is absolutely inspiring, likeably relatable, and extremely talented at what she does, but more importantly, a kind, encouraging, and supportive human being in who she is. I’ve been able to connect with you on so many different levels, which is why I can easily call you my friend, even though we’ve never met face to face. See . . . that’s the power of words (even written words). Words can join people together who may never get to be in each other’s physical presence. However, I hope that actually gets to happen for us — to meet in person one day. Never say never. Anyway, I am so appreciative of your kind words. Although, I don’t feel that I’ve earned them. Nevertheless, I’ll take them, because I believe you’re a person who stands by what she says (and types). You’ve proven that to me in spades. Just look at all you do and you’re doing it quite well. Take your thriving children, for example. I will be soooooooooo excited to see how your adventures go this summer. What you have planned for the children sounds fun and educational. A great combination, indeed! You know I eat that stuff up — anything related to youth education (especially in reading and writing). So, you go girl! As for me, this whole membership thing I’m ramping up for this summer is going to take my full concentration; but somehow, I’ve got to squeeze in some strategic educational planning and implementation for my up-and-coming 8th grader. Yes, it is hard to believe that my youngest is one school year and some months away from high school. Yikes. Anyway, getting back to you. I look forward to hearing about your adventures with the children. Enjoy these times, because they go by waaaaaayyyy too fast. Thanks for all you do and the great person you are, Kat. (Oh, and I don’t expect you to keep this comment train going. No need to respond back — just wanted you to know I appreciated what you said and look forward to keeping up with you and the children.)


    1. This was my first by the author, and I think I’d have to agree with you. His other books sound amazing, so I imagine I’ll try them one day. Just disappointed this one didn’t seem to match up with my expectations.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your daughter’s rainbow kindergarten graduation dress sounds adorable. My granddaughter was also crazy for unicorns when she was about that age.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s such a sweet stage! I feel a little overrun with all the unicorns, but I do love how cute my daughter is in all her dresses, and I know it won’t last, so may as well enjoy it.


  3. I was addicted to Book Depository. A webpage where you can find all the paperbacks you need? I hate you Karen for introducing it to me! Last book I bought was right before it closed, a couple of months ago. I was sad to hear the news, but also relieved 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I can understand that! I’m sad I’ll never get to experience Book Depository, but perhaps it’s for the best. I’ll never catch up as it is.


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