Sunday, June 30

Joint Review: The Woman in the White Kimono by Ana Johns

Hello all! Blodeuedd and I will be discussing "The Woman in the White Kimono" by Ana Johns. We had a little fun with this one. I read the ebook version and Blodeuedd did the audio version. Fun! Blodeuedd is in red and I am in blue. 

The Woman in the White KimonoAuthor: Ana Johns
Narrator: Emily Woo Zeller, Lauren Ezzo
Title: The Woman in the White Kimono
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Published: May 28th 2019
Pages: ebook & audiobook (Blodeuedd listened to the audio)
Narrator of audio:  Emily Woo Zeller, Lauren Ezzo

Japan, 1957. Seventeen-year-old Naoko Nakamura’s prearranged marriage to the son of her father’s business associate would secure her family’s status in their traditional Japanese community, but Naoko has fallen for another man—an American sailor, a gaijin—and to marry him would bring great shame upon her entire family. When it’s learned Naoko carries the sailor’s child, she’s cast out in disgrace and forced to make unimaginable choices with consequences that will ripple across generations.

America, present day. Tori Kovac, caring for her dying father, finds a letter containing a shocking revelation—one that calls into question everything she understood about him, her family and herself. Setting out to learn the truth behind the letter, Tori’s journey leads her halfway around the world to a remote seaside village in Japan, where she must confront the demons of the past to pave a way for redemption.

Hello! I’m loving these last minute random picks! They seem to be doing pretty decent for us. :D

I would not really go that far. It was so freaking dull. It did pick up in like the last third, but still, the beginning. It was painful.

That is why I said decent ;) LOL Yes, the beginning was slowwwww but the last bit was amazing. I even had some tears. Just wish  the rest of the book followed suit. There was just a lot of filler or repeats of things that bogged the beginning down. Lots of reminders and extra backstory. 

 Lol, true. And even though I felt that it picked up, it was still slow somehow, I sped it up to 2.2x! It was the only way I could get through. My fav part was Naoko, the other pov, ugh, no thanks.

Yeaaa - I really didn’t care much about the present day POV of Tori. However, we had to know her too and her journey in order to really appreciate the ending there. But her POV coulda been smaller. She was the main issue of repeating stuff and etc. 

I get that we had to have that story to see the rest, but at the same time, we did not. We could just have followed Naoko, I feel then I would have been sad. Now I was all, that was cruel, the author tried to be smart and hide things, but it felt like a slap in the face to me. I was not sad. I was angry at the author instead.

I get the WHYS the author did it the way she did. It was the only way for Tori to truly let go. BUT I was so shocked! I was annoyed with the author, but I did give the author the reaction she wanted. I did cry. Mainly because I was shocked I think. But the ending was so good I felt. I do wish there had been a noticeable foreshadow or something. 

I also did not like that the prologue showed me what would happen to the lovestory. I have hope, even when I know that everyone will die. Here I had no hope for them. I did not know about her, but I knew he would leave and find the love of his life. This from page 1! Ugh, I was just so, why even read about their romance. SHe was not even the one! :/

I skipped the prologue so I was stunned by everything. I knew they didn’t end up together, but I didn’t know the whys and etc. And yes - I have a hard time marking this as a romance even though it is listed as one. The love was doomed from the start. Super obviously. I think I would’ve liked the format different. Tori’s journey all at the end. The jumping back and forth ruined surprises for me. 

Yeah, not a romance. I would have liked to see it as a historical fiction instead. No Tori. I felt the emotional impact for me would have been bigger. Shed a few tears and then see the light in the distance. I do not know how she would have done that, but it happened. Maybe she just could not see a way to fix it so she had to jump in time. It worked out but we do not know. Hmmm. I know you worried about X ;) I was at the point where I could no longer trust X either. Not until the end.

I liked him from the moment I met him. IDK why, but I liked him. I wanted her to get with him and love him. There was something about him. I wish the story was about him and her and fixing this together. He was so sweet. Sorry - I can ramble on and on. 

I liked him too. That is why I wanted to see how it came about. I also hope she never spoke an effing word to her family again. Gods, I hate them, UGH, her gran needs to die now!

YESSS! I hated them too. I am so glad she stood her ground. They kept calling her selfish and etc. No screw you guys! I am glad the mom gave in a little, but I wish she fought more. 

It just broke me inside when we got to that point when she was there. I wanted her to fight more, but how could she. I wanted her to like kick and scream. I hate that the best part of the book was this sad horrible truth.

But the mom was a product of her time and she had to be the dutiful wife and etc. Bleh. OooooOOOOO I agree, but I loved the ending so much. It was worth it the rest of the terrible journey for me. Maybe the audio was a different beast ;) but I really enjoyed reading it. How was the narrator(s)? 

I think not even the exciting sad part would have worked for me in print. In audio I finally felt things when we got to that part. There were 2 narrators, I have listened to one before, and yes that was Naoko. Tori’s narrator was new to me, and good? Nah, those parts were so boring, and a good narrator might lift them up, but this person could not do that, While Emily Zoo Weller as Naoko managed it.
And yes I listened to 2.2x. And that did not even feel fast! So either they talked really slow, or the story was slugged down, which it was. I did feel like whatever lacked was in the story itself

Mmmm. I’m glad I didn’t listen and I read. I feel there was more emotional impact at the end, especially since I skipped the prologue. 

This book did not need that prologue. It gave us nothing. And I would still rewrite this book ;) I just read GR reviews, it has such a high rating?!

Yess some major edits needed, but it was worth the read I felt. 

Not worth the read for me. It took too long to get good.

I think the ebook sounded a touch better. Which is a rarity for sure! 

And I say the audio was better, lol

BATTLE!! LOL. I may have to listen to clips of the audio to see ;)

Battle on!

LOLL. But I do like the whole theme about letting go and making peace with the sorrow and joy. That is why I can’t call this romance to me. Everything was doomed from page 1. 

Yes, nobody think of this as a romance. It was doomed. I did like how it should what happened with liaisons between American and Japanese women. Of course you had a freaking afterword! I did not have that so I did not realise the scope of things

I rarely read the afterwords and etc, but you must after this story. Soooo important. It really opened my eyes. I KNEW but I didn’t really KNOW and fully grasp the fact. So sad, so sad. 

And that is why I wanted more Naoko and not Tori. We should learn more about these things and here it did not come through as much as it could have. I mean not thinking of all those…..sadness

Yess, I feel like we should’ve meet Tori at the end and Naoko tells her all and then Tori has the reaction and etc. I feel like that would’ve made it more impactful. 

I really like that idea!

I think it would’ve helped a bit. I still think the story was impactful BUT it could’ve been more so with different formatting. Overall...I still cried at the end there. It struck my feelings. LOL

More anger for me ;)

Funny how that happens! 

Still, yes I am glad to have learned more! That place still strikes a chord in me, I feel so sad thinking about it.

Me too! SOOOO sad!!!
The end?

The end! 

About the Authors
Carole and Blodeuedd have been blogging a long while now. The last couple of years the epic duo have been discussing books, watching movies, and even wetting the pen and sharing their stories with the worldwide web. They both love cats, chocolate, and a good story.

Saturday, June 29

June is Audiobook Month - Goal Update

Related image

As Audiobook month comes to a close....let me see if I met my goal for June!

I originally wanted to listen to a total of 8 for June...and the grand total was............*drum roll*


DANG! I fell short this month. Oh well. What can ya do? I'm still proud of myself. 

Into the Dreaming (Highlander, #8)  The Sword Dancer (Lovers and Rebels, #1; Tang Dynasty, #4)

Pride and Sensuality: A Darcy and Elizabeth Short Story A Match Made in Texas

Hold Me (Cyclone, #2) A Night Divided

How did you do on your June goal??

Friday, June 28

Movie Review: I Am Mother (2019)

I Am Mother PosterFilm Title: I Am Mother 
Length:   1h 53min
Released:   7 June 2019
Genre:   Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi 
Rating: TV-14 
Where I Got It: Netflix


A teenage girl is raised underground by a kindly robot "Mother" -- designed to repopulate the earth following the extinction of mankind. But their unique bond is threatened when an inexplicable stranger arrives with alarming news.



Randomly stumbled upon a trailer for this movie and it sucked me in and I had to watch it. BF and I watched it that night. What an adventure

So - the story follows Mother and Daughter. Mother is a robot whose job it is to raise and teach Daughter from the time she was a babe. all teenagers...start to question and rebel in little ways. And of course, that is when a human woman shows up to add more questions and doubts upon Daughter. What happened to the humans? How did THIS human survive? Is Mother really a bad guy/robot? 

This film took the overused AI taking over mankind and made something new. This was refreshing and I enjoyed it. Normally I scuff at robot movies and etc. Why? Robots reflect humankind...they are evil. They are only as smart as we are and that is scary. 

But...this made you question everything...even your beliefs. I even found myself liking Mother. ME? LIKE A ROBOT? I was stunned that the writers and voice actress made me like her. I still feel like she cared for Daughter even though robots can't have feelings. 

Now...that woman who shows up was the embodiment of mankind. She is selfish and brash and reactive. Not caring to listen or think beyond herself. But could she be right about Mother? That Mother is a brainless and heartless robot like the ones outside?

Good questions. I won't spoil it. 


So many questions left out to rot. Such a wide-open ending and you can interpret and guess anything and everything you want. WAH. Maybe there will be some sort of sequel or another movie set in the same world. I sure do hope so. 

Normally I would watch a movie explained video or read stuff...I'm still trapped in my own mind about this film. 

Now - the beginning IS slow. There is a lot of character building. You get to see the relationship between Mother and Daughter. I was never bored. It just made me anxious because you are just WAITING for things to go nutty.

This is for sure a movie to watch this summer. It will make you think and feel and then think about WHY you felt like that. Super good. I'll give it 5 stars. 

Thursday, June 27

Book Review: Queen's Hunt by Beth Bernobich

Queen's Hunt (River of Souls, #2)
Author: Beth Bernobich
Title: Queen's Hunt
(River of Souls #2)
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 332 
Published:  July 17th 2012
Where I Got It: My shelf (Used book store)

Ilse Zhalina has left to start a new life in a garrisoned fort, leagues from her estranged lover, Raul Kosenmark. The violent quarrel that ended Ilse and Raul's relationship was quite public. And also, quite fake. They hope to mislead Kosenmark's enemies so that he can continue to influence the politics of the kingdom in an attempt to stave off an ill-advised war, while keeping Ilse safe from royal assassins who would kill anyone Raul is close to. Ilse longs for Raul, but is set on her own quest to find one of the three fabled jewels of Lir. One of the jewels is held by King Dzavek, sworn enemy of Veraene, who has used the jewel's power to live for centuries. Ilse seeks one of the other stones to counterbalance Dzavek's efforts to destroy her country.

In her search, she encounters a shipwrecked prisoner from another land, a woman who has a secret of her own...and the second jewel in her keeping. The two women become allies in their quest for the third jewel, because finding and controlling these stones could mean salvation for both of their nations. And their failure the ruin of their peoples.

Okay... I didn't realize it was part of a series until I added it to my shelf in Goodreads. I spent a while looking for book 1 and have never found it. I gave into temptation and read it anyways. What? Look at that cover and that summary! It looks and sounds good!

Soooo the story follows Ilse and Raul. Ilse is on the run I suppose from events of the last book. Her and her lover had a huge fight. She decides to go on a quest to find the three fabled jewels of Lir because they can possibly help in saving her people and Raul's people. 

This started out fantastic. I didn't feel like I was missing anything at all. It was going good and fell apart. I started missing things and not understanding things. There were things about the world and characters I was scratching my head about. I think reading book 1 is the way to go...but I can't find the blasted thing. 

I honestly put the book down for a couple of weeks in frustration and annoyance. I picked it back up and pushed my way through it. 

Honest time? I TOTALLY skimmed the last 80 pages. I just wanted to be done and know what happened at the end. I had really and truly stopped caring to understand. I just wanted to know what happened to the two and the people. 

The ending was eh...okay. Not really intrigued to read book 3 tho...

Overall...I may have to return back to this one day after I read book 1 and maybe I'll love it. We shall see. I got my answers and I am content. I'll give this 2 stars. 

Wednesday, June 26

Audiobook Review: Into the Dreaming by Karen Marie Moning

Into the Dreaming (Highlander, #8)Author: Karen Marie Moning
Narrator: Phil Gigante
Title: Into the Dreaming
(Highlander #8)
Genre: Historical Romance, Paranormal, Fantasy, SciFi
Pages: Audiobook
Published:  August 29th 2006
Where I Got It: My shelf (Audible)

Free him from his ice-borne hell . . .

Stolen from his beloved home in the Highlands of Scotland, imprisoned in the Unseelie king’s dark, frosty kingdom, Aedan MacKinnon endured centuries of torture before becoming the icy, emotionless Vengeance, the dark king’s dispatcher of death and destruction in the mortal realm.

And in his century you both may dwell . . .

Aspiring romance novelist Jane Sillee has always believed that she was born in the wrong century, but she’s managed to make a decent enough life for herself—if only she could stop having those recurring dreams about a man too perfect to exist.

In the Dreaming you have loved him . . .

Haunted every night of her life by a devastatingly sexy Highlander who comes to her while she sleeps, Jane tries to write him out of her head and heart. As a child he protected her, as a woman he loves her.

Now in the Waking you must save him . . .

Number 8 of the series! This has been one I've been curious about for a couple of books now. This is a novella more so. It is shorter than the rest...but not short enough to be a short story. 

The story follows Jane and Vengeance/Aedan. Jane is a modern woman who has dreamed of Aedan her whole life. He was a friend to her as a child and then it became more when she became a woman. Aedan was tricked into being the prisoner of the Unseelie king. He is twisted and tortured to the point he doesn't remember who he is and is now a warrior for the king. The light queen of the Fae has deemed he needs to be saved and the only way to do this is by true love. 

I adored Jane and I adored Aedan. Poor guy was super tricked! Darn that evil, dark king!!!!

The story was sweet but it had its darkness too. Aedan went through a lot and it will take a lot to unfreeze his memories of who he really is. Jane was much more patient and cunning than I would be. 

The ending was nice. However, it has raised more questions for me! WHAT IS NEXT? This is the last book in the series. WHAT??? Does it continue elsewhere? I must know more. More questions have been added. What is next for the light queen and her court? Will, she beat the Unseelie king? Will she turn away from being dark and return him to light? UGH! Maybe I'll read her other series. We shall see. 

I wanted this to be longer! Maybe it is my own greediness since I know this was the ending of a fantastic series.

But yes. This was a good one! I liked the narrator. He was good. His voice was perfect for all the characters even Jane and the queen. 

In the end, I am so sad to see this series go. It was so fun. I want moreeee. I feel like there is more stories to tell! Ugh SO many questions! Maybe someday she'll return and add more. Sighs. A good end to a good series. I'll stamp this with 5. Short, but good. 

Tuesday, June 25

Time for TV Tuesday: The Bold Type (Season 1-3)

Recently Finished:

The Bold Type Poster

On the recommendation (and persistence) of a couple of my gal pals, I watched this show. I rarely watch chick flick TV shows. Not because I don’t like them, but because they normally bore me. Thus, is why I rarely read chick lit unless I really can’t resist. 

The show follows three friends in New York. They met at this famous woman’s magazine in all different departments. They became best friends. We have Kat, Jane, and Sutton.  
Sooo I started this journey not sure. I had really low expectations and I was expecting to be bored by episode 2. However,…I was pleasantly surprised by this show. 

There are three seasons and I finished ALL pretty quickly. Season 1 took me a little longer, but I still went through it in about 2 or 3 days. Season 3 I got done in a single day. Yep. I couldn’t stop. I totally binged that last season and I am SOOOOOOOOOO mad. I want season 4 NOW! I NEED TO KNOW! HOW CAN THEY LEAVE ME THUS! MONSTERS! Ugh…yes….it was a huge cliffie at the end there and I am SO mad. It was a good cliffie. But ugh. 

Let’s talk about the characters. 

We have Kat. I like her but she is too rash and immature in some of her decisions. Drives me nuts. But I love how she is really opening up and being honest with herself. She is easy to tell it how it is for everyone else, but she is becoming so well-rounded as a character. But she still makes DUMB decisions. I guess you can’t control who you love. 
We have Sutton. I simply adore her. She is SO funny and SO fun. I really relate to her in so many ways. She is so brave and confident. Sometimes she needs a good kick in the romp, but I adore her. There was a part in season 3 I was annoyed with her. C’mon lady…get your head out of your ass, but I get WHY she was the way she was about certain things…but still…don’t be dumb. 

Speaking of growing on me….there is Jane. I hated her season 1 and season 2. Okay hated is a strong word, but I really wanted to kick her. She is so self-centered and so dramatic about EVERYTHING. Like take a chill pill lady. Jacqueline was right and she really needed to grow up. It took nearly a full 2 seasons for me to like Jane. Near the end of season 2 I found myself actually liking her. She really developed during a certain phase of time. She needed it for sure. 

I did not care for Richard at first, but he grew on me. LOOOOVVEEEE HIMMMM the most. Pinstrip is okay…but….there is something that bugs me about him; I can’t pinpoint it (ha). I like Alex too. Dr. Ben was fun. Honestly? I woulda picked him. He was sweet and smart and funny and that accent. EEEE Adena…no. I loath her so much. I liked the other girl WAY better. Booo. Gods, I hate Adena. She doesn’t really care about Kat. Not at all. She is SO selfish and SO rude. Ugh. SUPER UGH! I do not even have the words to express my dislike of this character. Kat deserves the sun darnit! 

I wish I had a boss like Jacqueline. *green with jealousy*

Oooo what to say without spoilers?

This show is SO funny and SO heart-warming. It is also a show that tackles real, modern day issues like sexism, racism, bodyisms (not a word, but they go over all aspects of self-love), love, friendship, technology, politics, fashion, and becoming the best version of you. Such a good show. I highly recommend it if you like people stories. I’ll give this 5 stars.  

Monday, June 24

B's Monday Review: The Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning

Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 05-14-19
Publisher: HarperAudio
Historical fiction
To review

This one takes place during WWII and present time. With the grandmother and granddaughter. As always with dual timelines I did find one more interesting, and that was Romy's in -39. This one would have worked great as just that too, sure the other POV brought mystery, but still.

Romy and her parents leave for Shanghai in -39. And as always I googled things and the Chinese diplomat in Vienna did give Jews a chance the flee.

Shanghai is another world to them, and she loves it. Of course half is also under Japanese occupation. I did feel the book was lighter, not the right world, but later on they are all put in a ghetto. Evil things are told, but at the same time she fast forward the more troublesome years. Not that I want all darkness, this was not that kind of book.

Romy studied to become a doctor. She met Li, who became her best friend. She hoped her brother who was in Dachau would come to Shanghai (yes that was rather heartbreaking). I liked Romy.

Then in present day Alexandra looses her grandfather Wilhelm, and she takes a job in Shanghai. All she knows about her true origin is that Wilhelm and Romy adopted her mother from Shangai. So she investigates when Romy is closemouthed.

Ok so this was actually the weak point. The secret was not a secret at all. It was cruel of Romy to make it into a secret and not tell her daughter the truth. Because it was NOT a secret. Everyone would have been happier with it out in the open. Sigh, flimsy secrets.

So I can not say much about the child Romy adopts, the secret needs to unravel. Just, why it was a secret I do not know. Cruel, very cruel to keep it so.

There is heartache to be had in Shanghai, sadness, and hope for a better tomorrow. I enjoyed the story, and the end is rather bittersweet.

I have listened to Saskia before and I like her style. She manages well with accents and male and female voices. You easily fall into her narration.

1939: Two young girls meet in Shanghai, also known as the “Paris of the East”. Beautiful local Li and Jewish refugee Romy form a fierce friendship, but the deepening shadows of World War II fall over the women as they slip between the city's glamorous French Concession district and the teeming streets of the Shanghai Ghetto. Yet soon, the realities of war prove to be too much for these close friends as they are torn apart. 
2016: Fleeing London with a broken heart, Alexandra returns to Australia to be with her grandparents, Romy and Wilhelm. Her grandfather is dying, and over the coming weeks, Romy and Wilhelm begin to reveal the family mysteries they have kept secret for more than half a century. As fragments of her mother's history finally become clear, Alexandra struggles with what she learns while more is also revealed about her grandmother's own past in Shanghai. 
After Wilhelm dies, Alexandra flies to Shanghai, determined to trace her grandparents' past. Peeling back the layers of their hidden lives, she is forced to question what she knows about her family - and herself. 

Sunday, June 23

Audiobook Review: The Sword Dancer by Jeannie Lin

The Sword Dancer (Lovers and Rebels, #1; Tang Dynasty, #4)Author: Jeannie Lin
Narrator: Sarah Lam
Title: The Sword Dancer
(Lovers and Rebels, #1; Tang Dynasty, #4)
Genre: Historical Romance, Fiction, Mystery
Pages: Audiobook
Published:  January 1st 2013
Where I Got It: My shelf (Audible)

Sword dancer Li Feng is used to living life on the edge of the law—a woman alone in the dangerous world of the Tang Dynasty has only her whirlwind reflexes to trust. She will discover the truth about her past, even if that means outwitting the most feared thief-catcher of them all...

Relentless, handsome and determined, Han sees life—and love—as black and white. Until he finally captures the spirited, courageous Li Feng, who makes him question everything he thought he knew about right and wrong. Soon he's faced with an impossible choice: betray the elusive sword dancer he is learning to love, or trust his long-disregarded heart and follow her to dangerous, tempting rebellion... 

Been meaning to start on this one! The first 3 of the series was really good. I was worried at first since it has been sooooo long, but this does well as a standalone, so I am happy. 

The story follows Li Feng who is a sword dancer. She is alone in the world and has a single mission...finding out what happened to her family. On her trail is the handsome and relentless Han. He is a notorious thief-catcher. Li Feng makes him question his black and white view of the world. The two dance around each other and stumble upon a mystery that they require them to team up. 

I really enjoyed this. The beginning was a touch slow for me character-wise. Lots of action, but it takes a while for the two to really blossom to each other and the reader. They were so 2D at first, but after a couple of chapters, we got to see them and their demons. Lots of hurt and issues they needed to get through before they could come together in love. Which worked well. 

The mystery was good and bigger than I thought it would! That huge twist left me mouth agape. Did NOT see that coming. I am happy though with it. 

I was so worried for these guys...the HEA seemed SO impossible. However, it was able to happen at the end there. It always does...but it seemed so impossible. The author didn't cheapen this by giving it a cheesy, unrealistic ending. It worked seamlessly. It was good and made sense to me. 

OOOOOOO that baddie! *shakes fist* Evil!!!!! 

Now...the narrator...I go back and forth. I feel like I've heard her before. I can't remember. But I liked her...but at times I was meh. So I guess I'll say she was okay. I feel like they could've used the 2nd voice for Han. She was okay for Li Feng though. 

Overall, I liked this a lot even with my on-the-fence feelings for the narrator. Great character development and story-telling. I'll give this a 4. 

2019 Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge
Book 14 of 16/25

Gonna use my free space on this one!