Wednesday, December 7

Audiobook Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

Author: Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renée Raudman
Title: Gunmetal Magic
Series: World of Kate Daniels #6
Genre: UF, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Format: Audiobook
Published: July 31, 2012
Where I got It: Audible

Some people have everything figured out—Andrea Nash is not one of those people.

After being kicked out of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea’s whole existence is in shambles. All she can do is to try to put herself back together, something made easier by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend Kate Daniels.

When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano—the male alpha of the Clan Bouda and Andrea’s former lover—die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate…and must work with Raphael. As Andrea’s search for the killer leads her into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta, she knows that dealing with her feelings for Raphael might have to take a back seat to saving the world…

Finally getting back to this series. It's been a little bit. 

Here we follow Andrea Nash whose life has been turned around. She was kicked out of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid. She and her best friend have started a new company that is having issues getting off the ground. Her and boyfriend have broken up. She just wants to move on, but she is asked to investigate the murder of several shapeshifters who work for, guess it, her ex. As she searches for the killer, she is led into the underbelly of Atlanta. On top of trying to save the world, she has to deal with working with her ex and dealing with her feelings that are still there. 

Love Andrea. I feel so bad for her. She has not had an easy life and now this whole issue with the Order kicking her because they learned her secret? Gah. I was seeing red for her. And then the whole Raphael thing. Sighs. Can't catch a break. 

I did want to smack both of them. Yes, there were some hurts and miscommunication but after two seconds of honest convo...all would be okay. But both are stubborn and hurt. Idiots. I did love the pranks in the middle. Made me chuckle. It was a little annoying how similar their romance story is to Kate and Curran's. A few variances, but it is super similar.

Am I bad that I was rooting for her to have feelings for Roman? I like him. I want him to find love. Maybe when we are done with Raphael and Andrea we can scoot over to his story. I love him. I hope he doesn't turn bad or something dumb. 

The narrator was good. I believe she did the last couple I did the audio for. I hope she continues to do them! She is good. 

In the end, I enjoyed this. I adore Andrea. I adore Roman. I was bad and wanted to be together, but she is meant to be with Raphael...I get it...but I am biased for Roman. I can't wait to get started on the next book. My only annoyance was that the romance seemed very similar to Kate's. However, I can look past it partially. 4 stars from me. 

- #56 for Audiobook challenge

Tuesday, December 6

Book Review: Hooked by Emily McIntire

Author: Emily McIntire
Title: Hooked
Series: Never After #1
Genre: Retellings, Dark, Contemporary Romance, & Fantasy
Format: ebook
Published: September 7, 2021
Where I Got It: My shelf (Amazon)

A dark and delicious fractured fairy tale reimagining of Peter Pan.

He wants revenge, but he wants her more…

James has always had one agenda: destroy his enemy, Peter Michaels. When Peter’s twenty-year-old daughter Wendy shows up in James’s bar, he sees his way in. Seduce the girl and use her for his revenge. It’s the perfect plan, until things in James’s organization begin to crumble. Suddenly, he has to find the traitor in his midst, and his plan for revenge gets murkier as James starts to see Wendy as more than just a pawn in his game.

Wendy has been cloistered away most of her life by her wealthy cold father, but a spontaneous night out with friends turns into an intense and addictive love affair with the dark and brooding James. As much as she knows James is dangerous, Wendy can’t seem to shake her desire for him. But as their relationship grows more heated and she learns more about the world he moves in, she finds herself unsure if she’s falling for the man known as James or the monster known as Hook.

This was picked for our book club. Seen it before and it seemed interesting, but never picked it up. 

This is a retelling of the classic 'Peter Pan'. James, aka Hook, has always had one agenda...destroy his enemy Peter Michaels. When Peter's twenty-year-old daughter, Wendy, shows up in his bar...he finally has the perfect plan. Seduce the girl and use her to help unfurl his plan. It goes perfectly until things in James's organization begin to crumble. There is a traitor in his midst. On top of that, his plans for revenge get a little more complex when he starts to see Wendy as more than just a pawn in his game. Wendy has been cloistered away most of her life by her absent father. She is pretty much the mother of her little brother. When she agrees to a spontaneous night with her new friends, she finds herself in an intense and addictive love affair with James. He is dangerous and the world he lives in is dangerous...but she can't stop herself. 

This was certainly intense at times. James isn't messing around with his charms and good looks, plus Wendy is the perfect victim so it wasn't too hard for him to seduce her. She has been emotionally abused and neglected by her father after her mother died. She's been alone and taking care of her little brother for years. 

I felt so bad for Wendy. She was a pawn for her dad and then, for a time, a pawn for James. The girl has a heart of a saint. She was never allowed to stick up for herself. Joining James in his dark world does toughen her up a bit and helps her find her voice. 

And maaaan this version of Hook....dang. He reminded me of the 'Once Upon a Time' version, but darker and more tragic. This James/Hook went through some stuff especially because of his Uncle. He is damaged and we all would. And then what Peter did? Oof! You can't help but root for Hook here.

There was one twist that angered me. I was good and surprising...but it made me really, really sad. I can't say because it literally is the big reveal near the end. Sobs!

I will say the resolution of the conflict was....too easy. I wasn't a fan. I feel like it was anti-climatic in a way. And I feel like a certain character wouldn't do what they did and be okay with it at the end of the day. Just didn't sit well with me. 

The epilogue had me "aww"ing the whole time. It was perfect. 

All-in-all, I did like this. It was certainly a dark retelling so be warned! I liked Hook and Wendy was certainly a darling. The ending resolution was too easy and I was bummed with the big reveal/twist because it made me super sad/mad. Other than those couple of things, I liked this. It was fun and steamy. If you like darker romances and retellings....I suggest this one. I'll give it 3 stars. 



Monday, December 5

Blodeuedd's Monday Review: The Seamstress of Sardinia

By: Bianca Pitzorno

Narrated by: Carlotta Brentan

Length: 8 hrs and 5 mins

Release date: 12-06-22

Publisher: Harper Audio

Historical romance / to review

It is the tale of a seamstress in the early 1900s. Life is not easy, her grandmother takes her in and teaches her her trade.

Her work takes her into other lives. Esther who marries a nobleman. The Americana, a journalist, who lives life her own way. A social climbing family who will have their downfall, and more.

It shows life as it was back then in Sardinia. And some really messed up things. Most shocking was the whole thing how a woman could be completely be cast out if she was unlucky. And because she had no home she would be branded a prostitute and sent to a brothel. I mean how many ways of effed up is that? It was not easy being a woman back then and the seamstress will learn that too.

The ending is so bittersweet. I was actually rather upset. But then it turned out well in the absolute end. Still, it does show that life is never eas.

I liked the narration. It fitted well with the era and tone. It flowed so well 

Born into poverty, the seamstress spends her days sewing in the houses of wealthy families. Her work is simple and honest; taught by her nonna, she skilfully prepares nightgowns, undergarments and children’s clothes, leaving the finer work of dressmaking to the ateliers in Paris.

Her story weaves in and out of the lives of the people she works for, whose secrets and scandals she is privy to. Some are kind and generous, others blinded by their desire to climb the social ladder. She dreams of freeing herself from the hardscrabble life she has inherited but can’t help being pulled back in by the love of the people around her.

Sunday, December 4

Audiobook Review: A Royal Christmas Princess by Scarlet Wilson

Author: Scarlet Wilson
Narrator: Erica Sullivan
Title: A Royal Christmas Princess
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit
Format: Audiobook
Published: October 11, 2016
Where I got It: Audible

After a tough year losing her mom and bills mounting, Holly Yates is in for a lonely Christmas. But when she hears a news report that the small principality of Coronia is looking for their lost princess, Holly is astounded to recognize the baby photo. It’s her!

Felix, also a Coronia royal, whisks Holly into her very own fairy-tale including a castle nestled within the quaint snow-covered Coronia capitol and her biological father, eager to meet his daughter. With Felix by her side as she meets the people of her would-be kingdom and prepares to attend a ball in her honor, Holly begins to fall in love, not just with Coronia, but also with the would-be prince.

Will the handsome prince still be at the side of this unexpected fairy-tale princess when the clock strikes midnight?

How could I say to no a Xmas story with a secret princess? 

It has been a rough year for Holly Yates. Her mother has passed from a long illness and the medical bills are drowning her. This will be her first Christmas without her mom or her dad who had died a few years previous. She works multiple jobs, but it isn't enough. But when she hears a news report that the small principality of Coronia is looking for their lost princess, Holly is astounded to recognize the baby's her. We also follow Felix who is looking for the lost princess. He is a very distant cousin who is the only person left to inherit the throne, but he never wanted it. Finding the lost princess is his only shot to stay free. 

This was so much fun. I finished it in just a couple of sessions. I literally couldn't and didn't want to stop listening. You can't help but adore Holly. She has a heart of gold and deserves all the goodness in life. Felix isn't too shabby either. He was nice enough. Kinda selfish, but he is a rich boy and has been entitled his whole life, but he is sweet at the end of the day. 

The baddies are SUPER DUPER obvious, but that didn't bug me. Sometimes baddies are right there in front of us.

This was def a Hallmark-y/Netflix story. I could TOTALLY see this falling into the same world as the other Princess/Prince movies on Netflix. Maybe Netflix could pick this up. ;) It's fun. It has heart. And you can't help but love Holly and even Felix. The country seems cute. 

I do hope for a book 2. The ending needed more. I want to see Holly take the throne and see her and Felix get married one day. You can assume but it would be nice to see for sure. thing that really bugged me....the ruler is not called a King/Queen/Tsar/etc...just Princess/Prince. When Holly takes the throne she will be just Princess Holly. So what do they call the heirs? That was the only thing that was super odd and weird for me. 

The narrator was new to me. She was really good. Her accents were interesting, especially for the made-up natives of this land. It is a blend of French and Italian I guess. Kuddos to her for trying to make it unique. Not an easy job. She didn't fall into the "British" accent trap. 

In the end, this was a lot of fun. Very quick and sweet. Loved our characters and the country. I want a book 2!!!!!!!! 4 stars from me. 

- #55 for Audiobook challenge