Friday, April 30

Audiobook Review: Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney

Author:  Joya Goffney
Narrator:  n/a
Title: Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry
Genre: YA, Romance, Fiction, Contemporary
Format: Audiobook
Pages: 368
Expected publication: May 4th 2021
Where I got It: Netgalley

Quinn keeps lists of everything—from the days she’s ugly cried, to “Things That I Would Never Admit Out Loud,” to all the boys she’d like to kiss. Her lists keep her sane. By writing her fears on paper, she never has to face them in real life. That is, until her journal goes missing…

An anonymous account posts one of her lists on Instagram for the whole school to see and blackmails her into facing seven of her greatest fears, or else her entire journal will go public. Quinn doesn’t know who to trust. Desperate, she teams up with Carter Bennett—the last known person to have her journal—in a race against time to track down the blackmailer.

Together, they journey through everything Quinn’s been too afraid to face, and along the way, Quinn finds the courage to be honest, to live in the moment, and to fall in love.

I was given this to listen to from Netgalley. The actual version with the narrator has not been released yet so I had to take this with a grain of salt while listening. 

The story follows Quinn who has always kept a journal with a list of everything in her life. From the days she has ugly the boys she would want to the things she needs to do.....things she needs to fix....and so forth. The day her journal goes missing her life will be forever changed. An anonymous account posts one of her lists for the whole school to see, she finds her self at the mercy of this mystery person who blackmails her into facing seven of her greatest fears or they will post the rest of her journal. In desperation, she teams up with Carter who was the last known person to have her journal. Together they journey through everything Quinn has been too afraid to face. 

I really, really, realllllllllly liked this!! Even with the auto voice I was hooked. It bugged me at first, but I got used to it and I really had to know what was going to happen next. 

It did take me a while to like Carter....I guess I was like Quinn and didn't trust him because he was the last one who had seen the journal and plus he was really mean to Quinn at the beginning. He was a jerk-face...but once he started opening up and seemed to care for Quinn then I began to trust and like him. 

Even though the blackmailer is a jerkface...I am glad it happened. Quinn really needed a huge force to face her fears. Sure it sucked and it was uncool, but she needed that push. She was scared of her own shadow. I felt so bad for her. She had crappy friends who walked all over her. Her parents are always at each other's throats. And her poor granny. UGH. Broke my heart. 

Someday I want to re-listen to this with the actual narrator. I think this would be amazing and great with the right voice. I have someone in mind that did Alyssa Cole's book. Oooooo or they should get Gabrielle Union as a cute nod to the 'Bring It On' references. How fun!

I liked the way the author dealt with the racism and racist issues here. It felt organic and natural and not forced or overdone. It brought a couple tears to my eye at one point. Gah! I wanted to shake some people!!!!! Can't name names in fear of spoilers but UGH!!! 

Anywayyyyyyyyyss. Yes. This was good. I recommend it for sure. It had a lot of good life messages that everyone should heed. A great set of characters! This really was a good one that I would love to re-listen to or read one day. 

5 stars. 

- #22 for Audiobook challenge

Tuesday, April 27

Audiobook Review: How to Catch a Sinful Marquess by Amy Rose Bennett

Author:  Amy Rose Bennett
Narrator:  Elizabeth Jasicki
Title: How to Catch a Sinful Marquess
(The Disreputable Debutantes #3)
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Audiobook
Pages: 336
Published: August 25th 2020
Where I got It: Audible 

A reserved debutante and a former soldier make an unlikely but fated match as they hasten for the Isle of Skye.

Orphaned heiress Olivia de Vere should have the world—or at least the men of the ton—at her feet. But when she's thrown out of a young ladies' academy, Olivia doubts she'll ever find someone who will love her, rather than her bank account. To make matters worse, her dissolute cousin Felix is determined to marry her against her wishes. A virtual prisoner in her guardians' London townhouse, Olivia can’t help but develop a tendre for her neighbor, a handsome Scottish marquess.

Battle-scarred in more ways than one, Hamish MacQueen, Lord Sleat, has braved many dangers in life. But nothing has quite prepared him for the shock of having a young child dumped on his doorstep, with a note claiming she’s his daughter. Just in the nick of time his pretty neighbor appears, offering to act as a nursemaid for the young girl on their journey to his estate in Scotland. He suspects she has her own reasons for wanting to flee the country…
The close traveling quarters leads to a fierce attraction between Olivia and Hamish that seems impossible to resist. But when ghosts from the past and monsters from the present threaten to tear them apart, will their unlikely love survive?

This has been the book I've been itching to read in this series. I adore Olivia and Hamish but I was good and read in order ;) 

Olivia is an orphaned heiress who had been thrown out of a young ladies' academy years back doubts she'll ever find love or happiness. To make things worse, her cousin is dead set on marrying her for her money. As a virtual prisoner in her guardians' London townhouse, Olivia can't help but dream of the handsome Scottish marquess. Hamish MacQueen has braved many dangers in life but suffers from terrible memories and nightmares. When a young child is dumped on his doorstep with a note saying that the child is his, he is at a loss. Just in a nick of time Olivia appears and offers to act as a nursemaid. Traveling in close quarters leads to a fierce attraction between Olivia and Hamish that seems impossible to resist, but will the ghosts of their past tear them apart? 

These two have had a sad and tragic past. You can't help but feel so bad for them. Olivia lost her parents in a tragic accident and she has been treated as a prisoner by her terrible family. Hamish had a monster of a father and then had to deal with war. Lots of issues to work through before they could fall in love. Lust was quick but the love took a long, long time. Which I felt worked. 

I did have to laugh at how oblivious Hamish. Sure, he didn't care at the time and probably was drunk, but he had met Olivia once and he is neighbors with her family. How did he not know who she was? How did she get away with her lie for SO long??? So unrealistic if I'm to be honest. 

I loved the add-on mystery of the little girl. The mom just tossed her on the porch and left because she couldn't support her anymore. I think it added to the story and the character development for all. That little girl was so cute! I adored her! I hope we get to see her more! 

Oooooo Felix. *shakes fist* I wonder if he's going to be showing his ugly mug in the next/last book. I do not think we are done with him. He's a monster. 

Honestly, this was my favorite of the series for sure. I loved watching our characters grow and fight their battles and fall in love. 

I read a lot of reviews and the narrator seems to be controversial. The first two were narrated by someone else (I had only listened to book 1 and I remember liking her) but for this one, they changed the narrator. A lot of people were meh, but I actually really liked her voice. I thought she did a good job with our characters male and female. I will say a couple of the men sounded like they overly super growly or hoarse/old, but it worked oddly for some of them. 

In the end, this was my favorite of the series! I love our lovebirds and I enjoyed their journey. Can't wait for the final book. 4 stars. 

- #21 for Audiobook challenge

Monday, April 26

Blodeuedd's Monday Review: It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas

Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor

Series: The Wallflowers, Book 2

Length: 11 hrs and 10 mins

Release date: 04-20-21

Publisher: HarperAudio

Historical romance

To review

Narration: I always like Landor, she is great with historical romance. She gets the voices, from male, to female to posh ahole Viscountess.

Story: Second wallflower gets her moment in the sun. Lillian is not proper, she says what's on her mind, she does improper things, and I like her. She sounds fun.

Marcus, omg in the last book he was so posh, proper and boooo, sure he did something good at the end though. It showed his soul. And here, well he is fascinating by Lillian, but is also all, no, she is not a silent English rose.

They argue a lot, they drive each other insane, and they want to rip each others clothes off.

I enjoyed it, and there was some drama at the end. Grrrrr baddies!

But, the next book, I am not sure, see the love interest in that one behaved like a real asshat in this one. But at the same time I am really curious how it will play out. Still, he did something unforgivable.

I liked it 

Headstrong American heiress Lillian Bowman has come to England to find an aristocratic husband. Unfortunately, no man is strong enough to tame the stubborn beauty's fierce will. Except, perhaps, the powerful and arrogant Earl of Westcliff—a man Lillian despises more than anyone she's ever met.

Marcus, Lord Westcliff, is famous for his icy English reserve and his supreme self-control. But something about the audacious Lillian drives him mad. Whenever they're in the same room, they can't stop themselves from battling furiously to gain the upper hand.

Then one afternoon, a stunningly sensuous encounter changes everything...and Lillian discovers that beneath the earl's reserved fa├žade, he is the passionate and tender lover of her dreams. What neither Westcliff nor Lillian suspect, however, is that a sinister conspiracy threatens to destroy any chance of happiness. After a shocking betrayal endangers Lillian's safety—and possibly her life—will Marcus be able to save her before it's too late?

Sunday, April 25

Audiobook Review: Miss Frost Cracks a Caper by Kristen Painter

Author:  Kristen Painter
Narrator:  Hollis McCarthy
Title: Miss Frost Cracks A Caper
(Jayne Frost #4)
Genre: UF, Paranormal, Cozy Mystery, Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Pages: 302
Published:  October 3rd 2017
Where I got It: Audible 

Welcome to Nocturne Falls, the town that celebrates Halloween 365 days a year.

Jayne Frost is a lot of things. Winter elf, Jack Frost's daughter, Santa Claus's niece, heir to the Winter Throne and now...private investigator. Sort of.
When Lark Bramble, an old frenemy, shows up in Nocturne Falls, Jayne finds herself reliving the painful past and trying to make responsible decisions that won’t mess up her future. But being an adult proves harder than she thought.
Finally at peace with where things stand between her and Lark, Jayne thinks everything’s cool until a chilling event at the Black and Orange Ball shatters that peace and puts Jayne at odds with the powers that be. She knows she’s on thin ice, but she’s determined to crack the caper.
Can Jayne find a way to right the wrongs she might have caused or will she forever bear the guilt of allowing herself to be snowed again?

Book 4. Could not stop myself. I had to get started on this one right away because of the ending of the last one. 

We continue were we left off. Lark is back. Jayne is forced to relive the painful past and try to be an adult about it. Being an adult is hard. Finally accepting Lark's apology and having a peace between them, Jayne moves on with her life. They'll never be friends again, but at least the hatchet is buried. Some time passes and everything seems good. Jayne has her two beaus and she is enjoying her casual life until the Black and Orange Ball. Peace is shattered and now she has to track down the caper.

Lark is a jerk. But I would've tried to bury the hatchet with her too. I've had to do that with some past friends as well. It's hard, but hatred is poison for the person holding onto that hatred. 

The mystery of the caper, on the surface, was pretty easy to solve, but there was more at play then what you can guess. The whos and the whys were a surprise to me. Can't say much else on that front ;)

Both Grayson and Cooper were gone for the majority of this which annoyed me, but it made room for a new guy Sinclair. I like him a lot. Since the other two are gone and Jayne doesn't want to go alone to the Ball, Sinclair takes her. He's new to town and he makes can you blame her for saying yes? Plus...the other two know there is no commitment so who cares. Except....there might be real feelings with this one. Oooooo I can't blame her. I like him too.

OMG. So I will say the breakups were pretty lame. I get Cooper needs to be with his family and take care of his mom on the other side of the country. I get that. Fine and fair. BUT Grayson. What an asshat!!! We get your sire was killed by a necromancer. Sure okay....sad. HOWEVER, Sinclair is not that dude. Isn't that kind of racist in a way? Sighs. Wouldn't you want to fight for her and save her? Nope...he just walks away. OKAY. Bleh. I'm not really happy with how "easy" this all went down. After nearly 2 years of casually seeing each other the boys so easily walked away without ANY sort of fight. Doesn't sit well with me.*SPOILER END*

So yes - I am not happy with Grayson and his reaction to Jayne casually seeing Sinclair. Fine go away. Poor Cooper. I hope everything ends up okay but I still don't want her with Cooper. I am now Team Sinclair. Sorry Grayson. 

I am curious about the next one. Will there be more of a resolution or drama? I feel like Grayson needs a chance to have redemption? Maybe? Or is that chapter doneso? Can't wait!

The narrator is fantastic as per normal. Love her voices. 

In the end, there was a lot of drama here. The mystery was there but it was pretty simple on the who...but there are was some more depth to the whos and the whys which was entertaining. Curious to see what happens next. I'll give this 3. Not crazy with how some of the drama went.  

- #20 for Audiobook challenge

Saturday, April 24

Saturday Movie Night: Thunder Force (2021)

This month Blodeuedd and I are reviewing, Thunder Force. 

Blodeuedd is in red and I am in purple.

Title: Thunder Force
Genre:  Action, Adventure, Comedy

Running Time: 1h 46min
Rating: PG-13 
Released:  9 April 2021

In a world where supervillains are commonplace, two estranged childhood best friends reunite after one devises a treatment that gives them powers to protect their city.


Jen told us to watch this, so I did, I really had no idea what to expect.

Yesss I had never heard of it before but then Jen said it was good and you said it was good so I watched it…..and it was good! I really adored it!

They are both obviously great actors, and comedy gold. Not to mention a different story and two that you would not expect as heroes. But who said heroes had to come in one boring kickass format.

Agreed! It was refreshing. I get so tired of the same ol’ hero format. Hot guy. Hot girl. All young and whatever. In this we have two total opposites who are in their 40s and can still kick butt. While making us laugh. OMG the crab guy. I had to pause because I could not stop laughing at their dance scene. 

Omg, I loved Bateman in this! He made no sense, lol. They killed it, I was disgusted and rooted for them at the same time. Best crab ever

Sameeeee. I was grossed out but I wanted him and her to be together. LOL Doesn’t make sense but it was hilariously adorable. Now we need a lover for the 2nd of the dynamic duo. She deserves a HEA too!!!!!! I want a 2nd movie darnit. 

True, she needs a HEA, but at the same time, I feel that she is such a strong independent woman that she needs no man. But if she got one, hmm, I am seeing a fellow scientist ;)

Agreed. They both don’t need no man but I think she deserves someone like a fellow scientist who can keep up with her esp when the daughter goes off and wants to do her own thing. That daughter is equally or even more smart than her so I can totally see her wanting to make her own empire. It would be nice to have a guy or girl or whoever to keep her entertained and keep her bed warm. She deserves to have a fellow scientist. 2nd movie pleaseeeee!

Oh I so need another movie. There are many more baddies out there for them to fight. And also to see Bateman and Melissa dance again, haha, or butter each other up. Yes best lovestory ever. And to see the kid and her new powers. You hear me netflix?! More please, you all did good here

Yessss best lovestory ever. So funny. So awkward. So cute. So clap-worthy. I approve! Maybe they will expand their team! Get more people to have more powers. Take down the baddies. There is a whole world left to explore. Good job Netflix. 

I feel like I have nothing more to say. It was good, it was funny, great actors! What more can one say?

It’s so hard to review good things. LOLLLLL Our discussion reviews are always way shorter when the book or movie was super good. But yesssssss. It was worth the watch and I’m glad I watched it. I really liked it. The story. The characters. The love. The friendship. The comedy! All good and fun!

The end?

‘Til next time my friend!

Tuesday, April 20

Book Review: Darius, Lord of Pleasures by Grace Burrowes

Author: Grace Burrowes
Title: Darius: Lord of Pleasures
(Lonely Lords #1)
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: ebook
Pages: 378
Published: April 2nd 2013
Where I Got It: Library

With his beloved sister tainted by scandal, his widowed brother shattered by grief , and his funds cut off, Darius Lindsey sees no option but to sell himself—body and soul. Until the day he encounters lovely, beguiling Lady Vivian Longstreet, whose tenderness and understanding wrap his soul in a grace he knows he'll never deserve...

Randomly found this at the library and I like the author so why not!

We follow Darius Lindsey and Lady Vivian. Darius see no option but to sell himself in order to raise money for his family and he has a chance to make enough money that can end this career. Lady Vivian's husband wants an heir but he is too old, so they come up with a plan to get what everyone wants. For Vivian she will go along with this plan because she wants a baby and something to love.

This was an interesting take on a love story. First is a deal. Second is the deed. Third is lust. Next is a baby. And then finally love. Flipping the script for sure and I enjoyed that! It was refreshing!

I loved Darius and his family. I loved Vivian too after a while. At first she seemed so 2D, but once she gets out of her shell you realize there is more beneath the surface. It was nice. 

Now....the middle part did drag a tiny bit. There was a huge lull, but once an event happened everything came tumbling down. It was worth the lull methinks. 

The ending was pretty good. I was happy with how everything was resolved. I am curious about the rest of the Lindsey family esp the poor widower. Poor guy. 

In the end, this took me longer than normal because of the lull, but overall, I enjoyed it. It was refreshing and I liked the characters and the drama. The ending was good! I'll give this 4 stars. 

Monday, April 19

B's Monday Review: Her First Desire by Cathy Maxwell

Narrated by: Justine Eyre

Length: 8 hrs and 27 mins

Release date: 04-27-21

Publisher: HarperAudio

Historical romance

To review

Excellent narration by Justine Eyre, she is after all one of my favorite narrators. Her male and female voices are done well, and I always know who is speaking. She gets a book going.

Gemma had a bad marriage, is staying with her asshat BIL, and just wants out. Then she gets a letter from her uncle and off she goes. Yes ugh her inlaws, you are better without them. She finds a rundown tavern and decides to make it into something new. The little town is filled with scary matrons, but if you have them on your side then you are golden.

I liked Gemma, she wanted more, and she is determined to get it. And she can get mad too, oh that was funny, you will see.

Ned on the other hand, oh he was stiff and proper. He has also been courting someone for 2 years cos the matrons told him to. The girl is bored by him, but she wants a new life too. Yes that point was a bit tricky. But they care nothing for each other...He is engaged to someone, and obvi sparks will fly between him and Gemma. Well first they will hate each other, but then sparks will fly. Still I have to see it this way, he would be a totally unfeeling husband who would forget that his wife is alive when he is studying, and his wife would be miserable because he would never love her. She deserves better (and will probably find love in book 3.) Because Ned needed someone like Gemma, who told him he is an idiot and argued with him.

I liked the story (but the matrons were scary, lol.) I do wonder about the next book, the couple seem so unlikely, but that will fun to see.

She arrived in town, beautiful and bold and declaring that she’s inherited property that he has already claimed! As a member of the local Logical Men’s Society, Ned Thurlowe prides himself on thinking clearly and calmly at all times. And it’s clear that the meeting place of the society—a local tavern—is his even if the men have turned it to shambles.

But Ned’s claim is challenged by Gemma Estep, who’s announced she’s decided to turn it into some sort of respectable tea garden for the local ladies. Ned challenges Gemma, and in doing so, behaves most illogically, for though he wants to dismiss her, he also can’t help but desire her.

Gemma has had enough of men telling her what to do, and she’s vowed to make her own way in the world. And Ned Thurlowe is ruining her plans. Not only has he laid claim to her property, pitting them in a heated fight for its ownership, he’s also arousing in her feelings she’s never sensed before.

And although they argue, they quickly discover they have more in common than they’d each ever dreamed—could their disagreement be turning into desire?

Sunday, April 18

Audiobook Review: Miss Frost Saves The Sandman by Kristen Painter

Author:  Kristen Painter
Narrator:  Hollis McCarthy
Title: Miss Frost Saves The Sandman (Jayne Frost #3)
Genre: UF, Paranormal, Cozy Mystery, Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Pages: 270
Published:  November 20th 2016
Where I got It: Audible 

Welcome to Nocturne Falls, the town that celebrates Halloween 365 days a year.

Jayne Frost is a lot of things. Winter elf, Jack Frost's daughter, Santa Claus's niece, heir to the Winter Throne and now...private investigator. Sort of.

When the Sandman comes to Santa’s Workshop, the shop Jayne manages, to do his first ever book signing, it’s a major event. He’s kind of a supernatural celebrity and she needs to keep him happy.

All is well until trouble shows up at the party thrown in his honor. Trouble in the form of Luna Nyx, the Mistress of Nightmares and his creepy counterpart. The Sandman’s assistant says Luna is dangerous, and Jayne believes it when her dreams turn dark.

Can Jayne keep the Sandman safe from this gothic goddess? Or will Luna’s threats put them both to sleep for good?

Loving this series!!

In book 3, we continue following Jayne Frost who is a Winter elf, Jack Frost's daughter, Santa's niece, heir to the Winter Throne, runs her family's store, and helps solve crimes here and there. When the Sandman comes to the store to do his first ever book signing with his first book. He's a supernatural celebrity and Jayne needs to help keep him happy. All is well until trouble shows up at a party thrown in his honor. The Mistress of Nightmares is his creepy counterpart and his ex-wife. Can Jayne keep the Sandman safe? Or will her threats put everyone to sleep for good?

These are so much fun! I'm really loving the series. Jayne is so sweet and I want to be her BFF. The other characters are always a blast. This town is so much fun! Can I live there?????

Now - I will say you need to at least read book 2 before diving into this one. There is a lot of references to our last book.

The weird love triangle is starting to get a hair old personally. The boys do seem to be wanting more. I have a feeling they will be putting their feet down soon. I stand behind Jayne though. She doesn't want to commit to anyone yet. She is enjoying her freedom and life. I do have a feeling she may have to let them go if they start pushing her to commit. I mean...I would get it if they did, but stick to your guns girl! They are both okay fellas, but you are young keep on dating!

Totally called the whodunit for this one. The REASON I didn't catch, but I was surprised I guessed it. It seemed a little easy this time around. 

I am curious about Lucien. I want to learn more about him. He seems interesting. 

OMG that ending!!!!!!!!!!! I have to start book 4 asap. *starts downloading* You can't leave us like thissssss!!!!! 

Overall, I am loving this series. Not my favorite, but I still really liked it. A fun mystery and I love these characters. I'll give this 3 stars. 

- #19 for Audiobook challenge

Friday, April 16

Audiobook Review: The Lady Who Loved Him by Christi Caldwell

Author:  Christi Caldwell
Narrator:  Tim Campbell
Title: The Lady Who Loved Him (The Brethren #2)
Genre: Historical Romance, Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Pages: 377
Published:  January 31st 2018
Where I got It: Audible 

In this passionate, emotional Regency romance by Christi Caldwell, society's most wicked rake meets his match in the clever Lady Chloe Edgerton! And nothing will ever be the same!

She doesn’t believe in marriage….

The cruelty of men is something Lady Chloe Edgerton understands. Even in her quest to better her life and forget the past, men always seem determined to control her. Overhearing the latest plan to wed her to a proper gentleman, Chloe finally has enough...but one misstep lands her in the arms of the most notorious rake in London.

The Marquess of Tennyson doesn’t believe in love….
Leopold Dunlop is a ruthless, coldhearted rake... a reputation he has cultivated. As a member of The Brethren, a secret spy network, he’s committed his life to serving the Crown, but his rakish reputation threatens to overshadow that service. When he’s caught in a compromising position with Chloe, it could be the last nail in the coffin of his career unless he’s willing to enter into a marriage of convenience.

A necessary arrangement...
A loveless match from the start, it soon becomes something more. As Chloe and Leo endeavor to continue with the plans for their lives prior to their marriage, Leo finds himself not so immune to his wife – or to the prospect of losing her.

Awwww I love me some spies. And I liked book 1 so why not?

The story follows Chloe and Leo. Both had a rough childhood and both want nothing to do with marriage or love. Chloe wants to control her destiny and life. Leo wants to be left alone to womanize and continue being a spy and maybe run the network someday. However, they are caught in a compromising position and if they don't marry all their plans are ruined. What starts off as a loveless match becomes something more. 

Loved both Chloe and Leo! They needed each other and they never even knew it. They both had shitty childhoods full of abuse and fear. Sighs. Made my little heart bleed for them. I did want to shake Leo sometimes, but he is a stubborn rake. 

Gah I wanted to shake Chloe's brother too! Yes, yes, you want to protect your sister and etc, but calm down. 

The mystery was good. I had my guesses and I was right even though it wasn't a serious guess and I had no idea why the person who do that. So good! I was all "WHAAA?" when the truth was revealed. Dang.

Now - I guess this series is a spin-off of another series? This and the first book I felt are fine without reading it. I do want to backtrack because you do get glimpses of Leo and he was a bad bad dude. Rake of the century! I am curious about the others. 

The narrator was really good. I enjoyed his voices even is girl ones worked well. 

In the end, I enjoyed this. Book 1 was good...this was even better I felt. I am curious about book 3 and the original series! I'll stamp this with 5. 

- #18 for Audiobook challenge
- #14 for Romance Bingo - "Lady" in title

Wednesday, April 14

Book Review: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

Author: Kim Liggett
Title: The Grace Year
Genre: SciFi, Fantasy, Dystopia, YA, Fiction, Thriller
Format: ebook
Pages: 416
Published: October 8th 2019
Where I Got It: Library

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

My friend and I are doing a mini book club. We each take a turn to pick a book. I let her go first and she picked this little beauty. 

The story follows Tierney James who turned 16. She dreams of a better life and a society that doesn't pit friend against friend or woman against woman. She dreams of a society that doesn't have the Grace Year. The Grace Year is brutal and a right of passage, if you will, for all the 16 year-old girls. For one entire year, the girls are taken to the wilds and have to survive the brutal elements, survive the poachers, survive each other, and make the magic leave their bodies so they can come back pure for their husbands. 

This was darrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrk. Very dark. It was sad. It was dark. It was tragic. Now...did I mention it was dark???

And I enjoyed every minute of it. 

It starts off a little bit slow, but then you can't stop reading it. I had to know what the heck was going on. IS there magic? WHO are these poachers? WHY can't these girls work together to survive? HOW many will die? 

I worried for all of them. I didn't want any of them to die, but you know that not all of these girls will survive especially how quickly they turned on each other and started taking sides within days of being dumped there. So much pettiness. So much jealousy. It's a real, gritty look at how terrible women are to each other. I'm sure this isn't far off how things would happen if you take a bunch of 16 year-old girls and leave them on an island. It would be a blood bath. So saddddd and tragic.

I will say to be careful readers...there are some graphic scenes that even I was all "WOAH". I didn't expect it because it is a "YA". Pssssh. This shouldn't be labeled as a YA. I think it is a little too much. I would say for young readers...maybe 16+. It does get dark there especially when we learn about the poachers and what they do to the girls they catch *shudders*. But, I'm proud the author didn't shy away from the evils of humanity. People do horrific things to each other and to animals. 

I liked Tierny and I worried about her. I was upset at her at how she treated Michael. Poor guy. He deserves all the happiness in the world especially when he did what he did. 

Now, I enjoyed this book greatly, but I am mad. Super mad. There are rumors of a sequel one day and I hope we get one because that ending pissed me off. HOW can you leave us like that? It's so open-ended and ambiguous. I've been reading reviews and theories for a couple of days now to see if we have an answer of what happened. I won't put a spoiler here...but WHAT?! UGH. We need answers. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this. The story was gritty and dark and makes you hate humanity, but at the same time have hope for it. Oooo that ending though made me maddddd. I hope we get a sequel. I will give this 4 stars. 

Tuesday, April 13

Book Review: The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires by Molly Harper

Author: Molly Harper
Title: The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires
(Half-Moon Hollow #1)
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, UF
Format: ebook
Pages: 384
Published: July 31st 2012
Where I Got It: Borrowed from library

Iris Scanlon, Half-Moon Hollow’s only daytime vampire concierge, knows more about the undead than she’d like. Running all their daylight errands—from letting in the plumber to picking up some chilled O neg—gives her a look at the not-so-glamorous side of vampire life. Her rules are strict; relationships with vamps are strictly business, not friendship—and certainly not anything else. But then she finds her newest client, Cal, poisoned on his kitchen floor, and only Iris can help.

Cal - who would be devastatingly sexy, if Iris allowed herself to think that way - offers Iris a hefty fee for hiding him at her place until he figures out who wants him permanently dead. Even though he’s imperious, unfriendly and doesn't seem to understand the difference between "employee" and "servant," Iris agrees, and finds herself breaking more and more of her own rules to help him - particularly those concerning nudity.

Turns out what her quiet little life needed was some intrigue & romance—in the form of her very own stray vampire. 

I've had my eyes on this one for a bit since I started reading/listening to this author's work. Found this at my library's ebook station the other day so yayy!

The story follows Iris who is the daytime vamp concierge. She knows more about the undead than she'd like, but money is money and she has a younger sister to take care of. Things seem to be going normal until she finds her newest client, Cal, poisoned on his kitchen floor nearly Cal is devastatingly sexy and rich. He offers Iris a huge amount of money to hide him at her place until he/they can figure out who wants him forever dead. He's sexy, but he is for sure unfriendly and imperious. 

Gotta love this author! She really knows how to make romances fun! She really did a wonderful job with giving this overused romance trope (vamp dude and human gal) and making it feel fresh and new. So much fun!

Cal was a grump, but he is SUPER old and has been around for a long time so I get his meh attitude with humans. Esp since the great coming-out a few years previous lead to a lot of his kind being killed by dumb humans. 

Grr humans. Yes, yes, humans can't handle the unknown and new. Sure, it's been a few years now, but I would not forgive or trust them either if I was Cal. 

But I loved Iris and her sister. They are one of the few. Sure, Iris is very wary about the vamps she does not know, she does not hate them. 

Her sister was hilarious! I believe she has a later book. I want her to find love when she is grown. 

This world is fun and I am curious to read on. *goes on Goodreads* Okay - I am tempted to read book 2. It sounds like fun! Seems to be about a witch. Fun!

The mystery was pretty good. Wasn't quite sure on the who and why, but I had my guesses. Close but not close enough ;) I wasn't crazy about how everything ended. Don't get me was good, but I felt like it was missing something. Can't put my finger on it...

Overall, I enjoyed it. I do want more! I'll give this a 4! This series has potential!

Monday, April 12

B's Monday Review: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Hardcover, 361 pages

Published May 30th 2017 by Delacorte Press

One of us is lying #1

YA Mystery


I decided to give it a go when I found it at the library. Did I guess the killer? No, I was sort of sure at one time, but I suck at guessing. Which is great!

5 kids in detention. Bronwyn, the smart kid, Addy who is all about being pretty and having a boyfriend (who is an asshat btw, and so is her mum.) Nate the token troubled kid, Cooper who is a baseball player looking to be scouted, and Simon who created a cruel app that deals with gossip.

Then Simon is dead and they are all suspects. Did one of them do it? Did they all do it? Though Addy's gossip, if major for her, is so not worth killing over. Bronwyn, well yes she was bad. Nate, that is jail for you, yes that was bad. Cooper, well that was tricky, yes and no.

And then there are all the rest that has gotten hurt, but the pressure is on the 4 that were in the room.

I liked it. The heat was on. Who killed Simon?

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High's notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn't an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he'd planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who's still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them. 

Sunday, April 11

Audiobook Review: Bridesmates by Sydney Smyth

Author:  Sydney Smyth
Narrator:  Teddy Hamilton
Title: Bridesmates
Genre: Contemporary Romance, LGBT, Novella
Format: Audiobook
Published:  January 28th 2021
Where I got It: Audible 

It's never too late for love in this short, sweet novella - an audio-first nod to a beloved rom-com!

After getting unceremoniously dumped by his boyfriend, the last thing Cooper Evans wants is to return to his hometown of Big Rock, Montana to be in his best friend's wedding. But he agreed to be her Bridesmate (her male maid of honor), and a promise is a promise. What he didn't expect is to run into his high school crush, who's out of the closet and a smoking hot cop to boot.

Will Baker is just as dreamy as he was when he broke Cooper's heart all those years ago - and it turns out he's in the wedding party too. Will Cooper make it through the ceremony with his heart unscathed, or will he risk it all for a second chance at love?

Awwww. I could not resist this one. The cover, the summary, the title. All too tempting!

We follow Cooper who was just dumped by his boyfriend RIGHT before having to return back to his hometown to stand up his gal pal's wedding as her Bride 'Mate' instead of maid of honor. However, a promise is a promise and he doesn't want to ruin her wedding. Just to add to his bad day, he runs into his high school crush who is now a cop and he is out of the closet AND he is in the wedding party too. Will Cooper be able to make it through the ceremony with his heart unscathed or will he put his heart on the line for a second chance at love?

Ooooo Cooper. Can't even imagine, but I can see why his ex broke up with him. Kinda rude to wait though. The ex should've cut the strings before Cooper told his family and hometown friends that he was bringing a boy home. Rude. 

Will. Boo. Yes, yes, I get he wasn't ready to come out of the closet in High School and all, but how dare you play with Cooper's heart like that and then NEVER talk to him again. He could've reached out. He could've said SOMETHING. Grrr. Not amused good sir!!!!

Yes, this was a sweet second chances love, but I had issues with Will. Yes, he's a hawt cop and all that, but grrrrrr he broke poor Cooper's heart! 

Even with my not-so-sure feelings for Will, I really loved this story. It had some humor. It had some drama. It had love. It was quick and fun and the narrator was fantastic. Loved his voices. 

This is a good springtime listen. Quick and sweet. I really hope Will makes it up to Cooper for the rest of their lives ;) 

4 stars from me!

- #17 for Audiobook challenge
- #13 for Romance Bingo - LGBT