Monday, January 30

Blodeuedd's Monday Review: Wicked Cowboy Charm by Carolyn Brown

Josie Dawson is new in town, but it doesn't take a local to know that Deke Sullivan is trouble--in a smokin' hot package. He's sweet, sexy, and has charmed just about every woman in Dry Creek, Texas. Well, Josie won't be next. She'll keep her distance, even if he is great with babies and makes a mean cup of homemade hot chocolate.
Deke Sullivan really is a one-woman type of guy. He just had to do a lot of looking to find that one woman. Now he thinks he's found her and he won't let a strong, sassy gal like Josie slip away. Just when he's wondering how to convince her he only has eyes for her, they get stranded in a tiny cabin during a major blizzard. If Deke can melt her heart before they dig out of the snow, he'll be the luckiest cowboy in Texas . . . 

My thoughts:
I have said it before, and I will say it again. I like Brown's books because they are sweet. There is always good banter going on and it makes me want to visit where they are and have some pie or something.

In this one, Deke meets Josie. She is staying with her brother, she has plans, and they do not include a wild cowboy who flirts around. But destiny does have a way of making own plans. Like having them stranded in a snowstorm, just the two of them, well and a dog and an old man. For days. I did like how they got to know each other. They still fought that attraction, but ha, you can try it, but you will fail.

You could see they would fit well together, they just had to get there in their heads first. But it made for an interesting journey, even if the first half was being crammed together in a bunkhouse.

As always then, a sweet romance with a good couple, and a great side characters.


Kindle Edition
Expected publication: January 31st 2017 by Forever
Lucky Penny Ranch #4
Contemporary romance

Sunday, January 29

Joint Review: Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick

First book of the year! *cheers* We will be discussing 'Nothing to Envy' by Barbara Demick. We've changed the format a hair. Blodeuedd is in blue and Carole is in red/brown. 
Author: Barbara Demick
Title:Nothing to Envy
Genre: Nonfiction
Pages: ebook
First Published: December 29th 2009
Where I Got It: On my Shelf (Amazon)

Award-winning journalist Barbara Demick follows the lives of six North Korean citizens over fifteen years--a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il, and a devastating famine that killed one-fifth of the population. Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive totalitarian regime today--an Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, where displays of affection are punished, informants are rewarded, and an offhand remark can send a person to the gulag for life. Demick takes us deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors, and through meticulous and sensitive reporting, we see her subjects fall in love, raise families, nurture ambitions, and struggle for survival. One by one, we witness their profound, life-altering disillusionment with the government and their realization that, rather than providing them with lives of abundance, their country has betrayed them.

Let us begin.

Yes, let us begin….first I want to say that poor North Koreans!! The ending was hopeful-ish that many are realizing that things are not that great, but they still have to pretend to live.

I found it sad, since this book was written a few years ago and they had hope then that their country would change. But, they will surely all be dead before then :/

Super sad. I just can’t even imagine living there.

The sad part is not even the camps, the starvation, or the fear of being ratted out by a neighbor. The scary part is how people believed because they are being brainwashed since birth. Every freaking person. That is just messed up. Our glorious leader will save us. HA, your glorious leader is eating great food and driving around in a fancy car and living in a mansion.

Agreed. The brainwashing is the scariest part. It happens everywhere though and that is even more scary. Luckily in “free” countries we do have those that use their brain and don’t let the brainwashing happen. However, in North Korea they have to believe in the lies in order to survive. It’s so tragic. :/

The part that hit me was when the doctor escaped to China and saw a bowl of rice just sitting there, and then she realized that all those things she had heard were wrong. The rest of the world was not a hellhole. Instead dogs ate better than people in North Korea :/

That got me too. All the moments of the characters when they realized, “Crap...this place is crap and I gotta get outta here.” Hit me hard, because it’s hard to leave.

Yes, all those moments were tough one. They realized this was hell, they were told the rest of the world is crap, but no other choice than to actually go and take a look. So they did.

I think my favorite story was the doctor’s. I felt so bad for her with all those sick kids. I wouldn’t be able to handle it, because there is zero you can do.

I liked the lovers too cos they were so caught up in their own world, and the woman who believed, but then she realised she had to survive, and to survive, she had to change. She made a real change in her life.

Yes, they were all good. I do wish I didn’t read chapter one, because I feel it was more like a prologue and it gave away the ending to the lovers, so I wasn’t that into them because I knew it was going to break my heart.

That is why prologues suck. I do wish it had been about one person so we could have looked deep or whatever. But at the same time I liked that it was about different people from different background who all came to leave that forsaken land.

I go back and forth about how I feel. I liked having different views during the same time period and how things impacted them. However, like you, I do feel like I would’ve liked a more in depth background of a character.

In-depth would have been good. I am not saying this was an awesome story. BUT, it was an interesting book about life in a miserable country. And I wanted to know what happened.

Very interesting and I learned a few things. I think my biggest issue was that it felt like a history book. Yes, yes, it is a nonfiction, but the writing was lackluster in my opinion. I felt like I was reading this for a class in some instances.

Sorry journalists, but it did feel like a newspaper article, and that was what it had been. She did not write as maybe an author would have. She writes well, but not ...compelling? Hmm, dunno what it was. I have only read one NK book before and that was one actually not as good, it felt like a YA book. It did not touch on what people did to survive, it touched no bad things. It was too clean. Here we saw the bodies in the streets. I felt this one was more real in that aspect.

You could tell this was written by a journalist. Interesting, lots of information, you get the facts, and it makes you think/feel. However, it wasn’t compelling and pretty. No pretty words or anything like that.

At least I feel it was one of the better ones I have chosen lately ;) Cos I did read it in almost a day.. It is a fascinating country. And an evil one.

Hahaha it was for sure worth the read. I read it in a couple of sittings. I do encourage others to read this. You know what scares me? How people predict North Korea will crumble and fall apart in X amount of years and they still haven’t. They still keep going and surviving. I wonder if they will ever crumble and those people can finally be free.

Everyone is just so scared so even when things are bad, they go on, they die. As long as the Leader is there, I fear it will not fall. It would take a drastic regime change.
This book also made me think how people can be so taken by a leader, and even though he has flaws, they do not see them.

It’s sad and scary. You can see that even in the modern world too. People are so easily fooled.

There are so many silly things, like how he invented hamburgers, how he is a god. How his dad would risen from the dead if they just believed hard enough. That is brainwashing for sure. Something about a unicorn too, sigh.

LOL yeah there are so many things that they actually believe in. I just don’t get it myself. I do want to read more and try to understand.

So, we can agree it was good with a nonfic for once then? :) I do also say that if not this one, then others should really read something set in North Korea.

Yes! It was also a good shake-up to our normal discussions. And yes, people should read a book like this set in North Korea. It truly made me appreciate the things we have.

Like food! Or that I can say that my own government sucks without being sent to a camp. Oh and my government does suck ;)

OMG yes food. I can’t even imagine….that is not how I would want to go. Oh! Please. My government is WAY worse now ;)

But still not as bad as North Korea...yet.

Oh gods, both of our governments are way better than that. If we were in North Korea just saying what we just said would end with us disappearing and being killed. *shudder*

II can not even imagine!
So...the end?
Your turn next.

The end I suppose. Honestly, this is a topic that can be talked about all day. LOL But I need to go digging for a good choice.

Yeah, it would never end. Oh and I am hungry, dinner is ready. Could not say that in north korea….

I am going to go eat lunch myself!

What an interesting book this was. I learned a lot of the factual information and the emotional impact of the citizens. Or the lack of emotional impacts. Many people in North Korea are blinded by their faith in the system and their leaders. It is very scary to think. I enjoyed the tales of the characters. I especially liked the doctor's story. For being a female, I am surprised they let her be a doctor. She went through a lot and seen a lot of terrible things especially during the famine in the 90's. My only issue was the actual writing style. You could for sure tell it was written by a journalist, which is not a bad thing. At some points, I truly felt like I was reading a history book and a series of articles. To the point and lots of information thrown at the reader. However, this was overall a good book. Very interesting and seeing North Korea from the eyes of actual people. I highly recommend this book or something like it. Out of five stars, I shall stamp this with 4 stars. 

Saturday, January 28

Movie Review: The Girl on the Train (2016)

Film Title: The Girl on the Train
Length: 1 hour and 52 mins
Released: 2016
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Rating: R
Where I Got It: Seen at theaters


A divorcee becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shockwaves throughout her life.


**I totally forgot to share this review from months ago. Whoops**

Where to even begin?

First, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started this movie. My friend wanted to see it and I just went along with the ride. Nothing is better than watching a movie with no idea what the summary is or even what genre this is. It's an interesting feeling that is for sure. 

This movie is about a bunch of people who need serious mental help. Rachel has drinking issues and has an obsession problem. Megan is a nympho is uses sex to make herself feel better and to keep men in love with her. She feels that the only way to feel okay with herself if having men love her. Anna feels insecure about herself and her relationship, which is bound to happen when you marry the man who cheated on his previous wife with you. Tom is the husband who all these women are connected to. They really made him a character you pitied, but at the same time there is something off about him. Scott seems to have anger issues and is obsessed with Megan, his cheating wife. 

Rachel gets obsessed with watching Megan live her seemingly perfect life. That was the life she wanted. She gets on the train all day every day just to sit in her misery and watch Megan. Things happen and a big ol' mystery gets all these characters mixed up. 

This really did have me on the edge of my seat the whole time. This certainly impacted my brain and I was dying to see what was going to happen in the end. 

There were some super SLOWWWWWWWWWWWWW parts that annoyed me and really slowed down the pace of the story. There were also jumps in POV. Some of the switches were okay to understand what was going on and they needed something to fill the voids of Rachel sleeping off her drinking. However, I wished they would have focused more so on Rachel. I liked Megan and her story, but it didn't really fit with the story. It took away from some of the mystery. 

WHY IS RACHEL IS NOT IN PRISON!? Especially with the one thing that happened before the main story even took place? Why does Tom defend her? I don't get it. Maybe it is better explained in the book. It seemed....not realistic. If someone did that to me, I would press charges. 

I guessed the big "mystery" but I didn't expect HOW things would go down at the end. It was good and I clapped. Karma is certainly a vengeful bitch. It was good. But again, I think it is odd that the police were so nonchalant about it and took their word for what happened especially with Rachel's priors and issues. 

In the end, this was good. A few issues and plot-holes, but it was good. I do recommend watching this if you like psychological thrillers and mysteries. The ending was the best part of the movie. I do feel bad for Rachel especially when the secret and truth came out. Poor girl. Well...I felt bad for all of them except for the main baddie (that character got their karma back in tenfold). Out of five stars, I'll give this 3 stars.

Re-watch?: Yes. 

Friday, January 27

Book Review: Eidolon by Grace Draven

Author: Grace Draven
Title: Eidolon (Wraith Kings #2)
Genre: Paranomal Romance & Fantasy
Pages: ebook
First Published: April 18th 2016
Where I Got It: My Shelf (Got on Amazon)

In a bid for more power, the Shadow Queen of Haradis, unleashes a malignant force into the world. Her son Brishen, younger prince of the Kai royal house, suddenly finds himself ruler of a kingdom blighted by darkness. His human wife Ildiko must decide if he will give up the man she loves in order to save his throne. 

Three kingdoms on the verge of war must unite to save each other, and a one-eyed, reluctant king will raise an army of the dead to challenge an army of the damned.


Now that I got that out of my system...

So, this is a sequel to Radiance. I do think the first book needs to be read in order to fully understand the main characters and the world overall. Everything seems to be going all hunky dory for the lovebirds then everything goes to Hell..literally. Brishen's horrible mother decides to unleash these demons from the underworld. Things happen and the fate of the kingdom and the whole world of the living rests in Brishen's hands. Poor guy. He for sure is the reluctant hero in this story. Ildiko has her own battles to deal with....should she stay or leave her true love for the sake of the throne. Why? She is human and he is not and no one will accept a human queen on that throne, so she is stuck in a bad place. 

Oh the drama was high and I had no idea how everything was going to be fixed. I was legit addicted and could hardly put this one down. 

I oddly think I liked this one better than  the first one D: 

My only issue is WHY Brishen's madre decided to think it was a good idea to let these nasty creatures free. WHY?! I don't understand at all. I get she wants power, but these creatures devour people and their magic....soooooo.....did she think she could control them? Was she testing Brishen because she knew what he would have to do to lock them back up? I just don't understand her motives. Maybe we are not really meant to truly get it. She is a crazy woman. 

Loved Brishen and Ildiko. Even with all the bad things happening they still made me chuckle and "awwwe" at their love. I do feel bad for them. BUT they got their wish...kinda sorta. I'm sad that this is their last book I believe. According to my research, the next book is going to be about Brishen's cousin. I'm intrigued, but I adored this couple. 

I really liked one character and I really wanted to get to know this character more. BUT NO!!!! I can never like a side character because it curses them. Sighs. Maybe the character will get a miracle and return??????? A gal can hope...right?

I loved the side story. That was entertaining! I was so worried for them! I think the girl should get a book or at least a short story. 

In the end, I could truly ramble about this book all day. I simply loved it. It was really, really good. For some reason, I liked it better than the first one? Maybe it was because I was scared and nervous about how everything was going to be fixed! I had a couple petty plot things I didn't care for: 1) The evil lady's motivates still confuse me and 2) Of course, my newfound favorite side character gets a nasty fate. PLEASE FIX IT, AUTHOR! But those are petty. I am drooling for the next book. I like this world a lot. MORE PLEASE! This shall get five stars of course. 

Tuesday, January 24

Book Review: Betrothed to the Bear by Sky Winters

Author: Sky Winters
Title: Betrothed to the Bear
Genre: Historical Romance & Paranormal
Pages: ebook
First Published: October 2nd 2015
Where I Got It: My Shelf (Amazon freebie)

Lord Thomas Selkirk is the brutish ruler of the highlands. He is rumored to be a warrior who fights like a beast. Despite his handsome looks, he exudes a cold and heartless demeanor. When he sees the beauty and innocence of Lady Ceri he is willing to enter into a peace treaty for her hand in marriage. 

Lady Beatrice Ceri is from the Lowlands. Her family has forced her to marry a lord from the highlands in order to restore peace to their warring clans. The gentle Beatrice agrees to sacrifice her happiness to protect her clan, but will Lord Thomas ravage her heart? 

Gertude Selkirk is the sister of Lord Thomas. She has an odd protection and control over the Lord, and keeps hold of his darkest secret. She is immediately jealous of Lady Ceri, so much so that Lady Ceri must use her powers of intuition to protect her own life.

This had so much promise to be good, but it was eh. 

The story follows Beatrice who is forced to marry her family's enemy in order to restore peace. There is something off about Lord Thomas, her hubbie to be, and his sister Gertude. Lord Thomas keeps weird hours and is very distant. Gertude is oddly protective of her brother and oddly jealous of her to-be-sister-in-law. 

Beatrice was okay. 

Lord Thomas had promise as a good character, but ugh. 

Gertude was the most interesting out of the three main characters. I was totally surprised by her reveal at the end. Good twist there!

The premise sounds fun, but the execution is was a letdown. 

First, Beatrice's parents decide they cannot afford to get protection to escort their daughter to Lord Thomas' home. What???? There is a war going on between the two clans....I think they need a couple soldiers to escort her. Heck she just has a dog and a coach man with her. Sighs.

Second, Beatrice and Thomas had only met once before this agreement. They only said a couple of words to each other when she arrives. Somehow they just happen to fall in love each other. How? I get love at first sight and all that jazz, but none of their meetings seemed to be romantic or loving or even friendly. Them falling in love seems odd and not convincing at all. 

Third, that ending. Yes, they get their HEA it but something bad happens (like super bad) and then they pretty much shrug it off and go on kissing and making out. 

This had a lot of potential, but it was a total let down for me. I'm glad this was a freebie. The only good part of the story was Gertude and her crazy reveal. I was totally taken surprised by that. The rest of it was meh though. I'm going to give this 2 stars. That reveal gave it an extra star.

Monday, January 23

Blodeuedd's Monday Review: Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones

A typical day in the life of Charley Davidson involves cheating husbands, missing people, errant wives, philandering business owners, and oh yeah...demons, hell hounds, evil gods, and dead people. Lots and lots of dead people. As a part time Private Investigator and full-time Grim Reaper, Charley has to balance the good, the bad, the undead, and those who want her dead. In this eleventh installment, Charley is learning to make peace with the fact that she is a goddess with all kinds of power and that her own daughter has been born to save the world from total destruction. But the forces of hell are determined to see Charley banished forever to the darkest corners of another dimension. With the son of Satan himself as her husband and world-rocking lover, maybe Charley can find a way to have her happily ever after after all. 

My thoughts:
I should have written this when it was fresh in my mind, oh well.

I never remember how I exactly felt about previous books, but I do feel like whatever steam it may have lost it picked up again. And that ending, wow.

So...well obviously has gone down in previous books. I still feel so sad that she can't be with Beep. I mean that is beyond heartbreaking. Beep!

Where to begin? I wanted more Reyes, ok so Reyes was there and they got hot and heavy. But he was not there..Reyes!!

Charley said some things in the last book and angels are stalking her. But if she wants a beef with God then she will have one. She is a goddess after all.

She has a new case, one she really should have left alone. Things will get dangerous. But that is Charley for ya.

Family issues. Godly drama, you name it.

And then there were a few new revelations that I did not see coming.

I do need the next book at once

still meh

Ebook, 352 pages
Expected publication: January 24th 2017 by St. Martin's Griffin
Charley Davidson #11
Urban fantasy romance

Sunday, January 22

Book Review: Beyond Derrynane by Kevin O'Connell

Author: Kevin O'Connell
Title: Beyond Derrynane (The Derrynane Saga, #1)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 348
First Published: June 7th 2016
Where I Got It: My Shelf (Given to me by the author/publisher for my honest and unbiased opinion)

Wed in an arranged marriage to a man nearly fifty years her senior, sixteen-year-old Eileen O'Connell goes from being one of five unmarried sisters to become the mistress of Ballyhar, the great estate of John O'Connor, one of the wealthiest and most influential men in Ireland.

When O'Connor dies suddenly seven months into their marriage, Eileen must decide whether she will fulfill her brother's strategic goals for her family by marrying her late husband's son.

Headstrong and outspoken, Eileen frustrates her brother's wishes, as, through the auspices of her uncle, General Moritz O'Connell of the Imperial Austrian Army, she, along with her ebullient elder sister, Abigail, spend the ensuing richly-dramatic and eventful years at the court of the Empress Maria Theresa in Vienna. The sisters learn to navigate the complex and frequently contradictory ways of the court--making a place for themselves in a world far different from remote Derrynane. Together with the general, they experience a complex life at the pinnacle of the Habsburg Empire.

Poor Eileen. She had such a hard time of it. She is first forced to marry a guy who is way older than she is. Sure, he is nice, but he takes forever to really warm up to her and even remotely like her and then he dies. She is sent back to her family and her brother is already lining up husbands for her. C'mon give the girl some mourning time! Through some events she ends up taking her sister Abigail to Austria with her uncle. 

This was an interesting read. Eileen was an interesting character and I am curious to follow her story further. Abigail was entertaining; I think I liked Abigail more than I liked Eileen honestly...maybe it was because I see a little of myself in her. Eileen's late husband was nice, but he was old and didn't last long so I didn't really grow too fond of him. Everyone was meh. Eileen's brother was a jerk. He needed a swift kick in the shins. 

The beginning was super sloooooooooooow. I didn't truly get hooked to the story until about halfway or so when Eileen arrived in Austria to serve in the court of Empress Maria Theresa. There was a lot of character building and world-building in the first half. Maybe a little too much, but I think it was needed.  

Now, when the ending came, I was upset, I wanted it to keep going. I really want to see what is next for Eileen and her sister. Well, I know my history and I know what is going to happen, but I want to see how Eileen handles everything.

I am really glad the author made sure to announce the month, year, and location. There was a little bit of jumping around and I would've been so confused without those indications. 

This was an excellent opening book to the saga. It wasn't amazing, but it was good. I really feel like this was a set-up for some real good drama in the upcoming books. I can't wait!!

In the end, this was pretty good. The beginning was super slow, but once you got past the character and world build-up, it got way better. The characters were interesting and the story was addicting. Poor Eileen! I am curious to see what is in store for her in the next part of the saga. I for sure recommend this if you like historical fiction. Out of five stars, I'll give this 3. 

Thursday, January 19

Book Review: Barely a Bride by Rebecca Hagan Lee

Author: Rebecca Hagan Lee
Title: Barely a Bride (Free Fellows League #1)
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: ebook
First Published: August 5th 2003
Where I Got It: My Shelf (Amazon freebie)

As a founding member of the Free Fellows League—a group of four gentlemen who signed a pledge to never wed when they were lads—Griffin, Viscount Abernathy, swears that he will put off marrying as long as possible. But when he is suddenly called off to war, he has no choice but to obey his father’s wishes and find a wife… 

Just days later, he marries the lovely Lady Alyssa. For a man committed only to his freedom, she seems a perfect—and perfectly undemanding—bride. Intelligent and self-sufficient, Alyssa craves her independence just as much as Griffin loves his. But as the irresistible attraction between them flourishes with every look and touch, they discover there is something they desire even more than a loveless marriage of convenience—the passion they find in each other’s arms… 

This book pleasantly surpassed my expectations. I was a little unsure thinking this was going to be the same ol' run-of-the-mill HR. Guy doesn't want marriage. Guy wants army life and freedom. Guy meets gal. Gal is independent. They fall in love and marry. Yes, yes, this is an HR and of COURSE, they get their happily ever after. However, it was a lot of work and a lot of time. WHICH I liked. 

Griffin and Alyssa (stupids names - I'll rant about that later) are both super independent people. Griffin is part of a club who thinks marriage is pointless and love is a waste. The only things that matter is their friends and England. However, his father forces him to get married, so he can produce an heir. If doesn't do it he'll use his pull with the War Office to not let him go to war. Alyssa is the youngest daughter who is the last one not married. All she wants is a home of her own so she can pursue her love of gardening. They meet and decide to get married so they can get what they want and little strings attached. Like that pesky thing called love. 

I do get annoyed when people, especially men, hate love and marriage. I don't get it. I get not wanting to marry someone you don't love. SURE! But if you find the one you love marriage is good. So yeah, I thought Griffin and his friends were silly beyond belief with their club and pact. However, I wouldn't be surprised if there were clubs and pacts like this throughout history. Men are silly. But the whole concept was interesting. 

But yes, the romance was a hard earned one. They are married only a couple of days. He goes to war. They fall in love in the letters they exchange - which was super duper cute - and then he comes home physically and mentally hurt. Lots of internal and external battles they have to deal with before they finally get that HEA. Loved it.

Now..... with my one and only issue with the book.....the names in this book annoyed me. Alyssa? Griffin? C'mon. I feel like these names are totally not something in the 19th century. But who am I? Maybe they were being used, but not from my knowledge. Also, some of the language was out of place for the time period.

UGGGGH! MIRANDA AND THE DUKE NEED TO BE TOGETHER NOW! *shakes fist* Ugh I'm so tempted to skip ahead to their book. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The characters were amazing and complex. Their love was hard earned because of external factors and internal factors which were nice. My only issue were with the names and some of the language used but that is minor overall. In the end, I'll give this 5 stars. More like 4.5, but I rounded up since I don't give decimals.