Monday, January 31

Blodeuedd's Monday Review: The Reluctant Queen by Sarah Beth Durst

Series: The Queens of Renthia (#2)

Format: 358 pages, Hardcover

Published: July 4, 2017 by Harper Voyager



I finally finished another print book. I think I have to blame my phone, you scroll away and no time to read.  

Gonna make it short, just happy to have read a book ;)

This is a horrible world to live in, spirits everywhere that wants you dead. And one woman trying to control a country so they do not all die.

And the queen is dying, and they need a new one fast.

Horrible world, so freaking scary to live in. It has to be said.

I liked Naelin who we meet in this one. She is older, she has kids, and she does not want to power that can make her a queen. 

I liked it. I will def read the next one cos damn this poor country and now more bad things are happening.

Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .

And those spirits want to kill you.

It’s the first lesson that every Renthian learns.

Not long ago, Daleina used her strength and skill to survive those spirits and assume the royal throne. Since then, the new queen has kept the peace and protected the humans of her land. But now for all her power, she is hiding a terrible secret: she is dying. And if she leaves the world before a new heir is ready, the spirits that inhabit her beloved realm will run wild, destroying her cities and slaughtering her people.

Naelin is one such person, and she couldn’t be further removed from the Queen—and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Her world is her two children, her husband, and the remote village tucked deep in the forest that is her home, and that’s all she needs. But when Ven, the Queens champion, passes through the village, Naelin’s ambitious husband proudly tells him of his wife’s ability to control spirits—magic that Naelin fervently denies. She knows that if the truth of her abilities is known, it will bring only death and separation from those she loves.

But Ven has a single task: to find the best possible candidate to protect the people of Aratay. He did it once when he discovered Daleina, and he’s certain he’s done it again. Yet for all his appeals to duty, Naelin is a mother, and she knows her duty is to her children first and foremost. Only as the Queen’s power begins to wane and the spirits become emboldened—even as ominous rumors trickle down from the north—does she realize that the best way to keep her son and daughter safe is to risk everything.

Sunday, January 30

Book Review: The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards

Author: Karen Robards
Title: The Black Swan of Paris
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Format: ebook
Pages: 480
Published: June 30th 2020 
Where I Got It: Borrowed from the library

Paris, 1944

Celebrated singer Genevieve Dumont is both a star and a smokescreen. An unwilling darling of the Nazis, the chanteuse’s position of privilege allows her to go undetected as an ally to the resistance.

When her estranged mother, Lillian de Rocheford, is captured by Nazis, Genevieve knows it won’t be long before the Gestapo succeeds in torturing information out of Lillian that will derail the upcoming allied invasion. The resistance movement is tasked with silencing her by any means necessary—including assassination. But Genevieve refuses to let her mother become yet one more victim of the war. Reuniting with her long-lost sister, she must find a way to navigate the perilous cross-currents of Occupied France undetected—and in time to save Lillian’s life

I wanted to read this last year when I first heard about it. Gotta love spies and WWII and sticking it to the Nazis. It's my turn to pick for book club so I decided to make everyone read this one ;) hehehehe.

Celebrated singer Genevieve Dumont is both a star and a smokescreen. She is an unwilling darling of the Nazis, but this gives her access to information to give to the resistance. When her estranged mother, Lillian de Rocheford, is captured by the Nazis for being a spy herself. Genevieve knows she doesn't have long to save her mother before the Gestapo succeeds in getting vital information out of Lillian. The resistance movement is tasked with saving or killing Lillian themselves. Teaming up with her estranged sister they must find a way to save their mother. 

My goodness, I felt so bad for Genevieve. Poor thing has had a bad time. Losing her child....losing her folks.....being forced to smile and flirt with nasty Nazis....and now it is up to her to face her past and save her mom.

We did have a romance here between our heroine and Max. They work together and had a fling a while back, but they find themselves falling for each other again. Honestly, I'm glad the romance didn't take over the story. Our main focus is Genevieve and her mission. I didn't like Max at all until near the end. I couldn't get over how he used her and dragged her into this crappy spy world. He does get better and actually proves himself. 

Now, I did struggle to get into this story. It took me until about chapter 4 or chapter 5 to really get into this. I'll admit I was confused by our characters. Who is who and what was really going on. It was a slow take-off, but once things got going I literally finished in just a couple of sittings then. So be patient with takes a minute. 

I was on the edge of my seat for sure. I had NO idea what was going to happen!! ARE they even going to save Lillian? How? When? Who is going to survive!!?? Gah. I had to read this as fast as possible to find out. 

In the end, it took me a bit to really get into the story. It was a slow take-off, but then I couldn't put it down. I had to know what was going to happen. I enjoyed this and I hope it is made into a movie one day. If you are looking for a good WWII tale with spies and a sprinkle of romance. I'll stamp this with 4 stars. 

Friday, January 28

Audiobook Review: Farewell to Charms by Molly Harper

Author: Molly Harper 
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi & Jonathan Davis
Title: A Farewell to Charms
(Mystic Bayou #6)
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller, Humor
Format: Audiobook
Published: January 13th 2022
Where I got It: Audible

Eva Boudreaux keeps the truth about her life before arriving in Mystic Bayou a carefully guarded secret, flying under the radar as a talented boat mechanic. In the swampy little town filled with powerful supernatural beings, Eva never expected to strike up a charged flirtation with one of the Bayou’s human residents.

Alex Lancaster is far too polished for Eva’s taste - not to mention the danger that comes with his high-ranking position in the League, which could expose her secrets. Trouble is, she can’t resist his disarming sense of humor or the chemistry that crackles to life whenever he’s near. Will Alex be able to handle a woman like her? Or will her difficult past keep them apart?

Either way, they’ll need to join forces to solve one final mystery in Mystic Bayou. The fate of the town - and their hearts - depends upon it. 

Had no idea another one was coming out. BUT I had hope because we had a couple people they introduced throughout the last books that I was rooting for. Didn't know if I thought they would get together or find someone else. I just wanted both to find loveeee. 

Here we have Alex Lancaster who is polished and has a great job with the League. Then we have Eva who arrived to Mystic Bayou to find a new life and do what she loves....fixing things. She is guarded about her past and about her secrets. She never thought she'd find herself falling for not only a human, but someone like Alex. 

It was adorable seeing past Alex's professional face. He is so awkward...I love it. 

I love how awkward Eva was too. 

They are so made for each other. It took them a minute to see past the lust and rejection fears to see it, but it was so worth the wait. They deserve all the love. 

I also loved seeing Alex finally connect with everyone and actually become a friend. It was adorable seeing him realize he was precisely where he belongs and get some friends. 

Grrr to both of their parents. They are jerks except for Alex's mom. Poor thing is caught in the middle. 

I am curious if this is the last one? It had those feels. There really aren't any characters roaming about that I like and want to find love. Seems like everyone is now paired off? We shall see though! I wouldn't complain. I love this town and this world. So fun. 

The narrators are back and still amazing. Yayy! They are perfect. I feel like our male narrator didn't get as much spotlight? The Alex POVs seemed shorter than Eva's? 

I do wish we had more of a resolution between their families. There is a lot of hurt still lingering. 

Other than that, I liked this! Lots of fun! Loved seeing Alex and Eva find love. 4 stars from me. 

- #4 for Audiobook challenge
- #3 for Romance Reading Challenge (Audio)

Wednesday, January 26

Audiobook Review: No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished by Rachel Aaron

Author: Rachel Aaron
Narrator: Vikas Adam
Title: No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished
(Heartstrikers #3)
Genre: UF, Fantasy, Paranormal, YA
Format: Audiobook
Published: August 5th 2016
Where I got It: My shelf (given to me by a friend)

When Julius overthrew his mother and took control of his clan, he thought he was doing right by everyone. But sharing power isn’t part of any proper dragon’s vocabulary, and with one seat still open on the new ruling Council, all of Heartstriker is ready to do whatever it takes to get their claws on it, including killing the Nice Dragon who got them into this mess in the first place.

To keep his clan together and his skin intact, Julius is going to have to find a way to make his bloodthirsty siblings play fair. But there’s more going on in Heartstriker Mountain than politics. Every family has its secrets, but the skeletons in Bethesda’s closet are dragon sized, and with Algonquin’s war looming over them all, breaking his clan wide open might just be the only hope Julius has of saving it.

Wanted to listen to this last year, but you know how it goes....I kept reading and listening to other things instead. Haha, but I finally decided to start this in Jan!

Julius, our local Nice Dragon, has taken control of his clan and overthrew his mother. He thought he was doing right by everyone, but sharing power is very hard for dragons. With his mother, there is one seat left for his Council. To keep his clan together and for him to stay alive, Julius is going to have to find a way to get all his siblings play fair. Along side this pain, Algonquin's war is looming over everyone. 

Boy, oh boy. Bless Julius and his Nice heart. He certainly has bitten off more than he can chew. Thank goodness he has a lot of strong dragons and an amazing Mage in his corner. Without them...he would be dead 10000000%. 

There is a lot of politics in this one. Some fights here and there, but loads of political tension building. Made me nervousssssssssss.

Until the big blow out. Then everyone started going downhill. 

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. I was so scared for everyone. 

And then the whole Chelsea back story we get to see. OH my heart. 

That ending had me holding back tears. WAH! I can't say what, but that was a good. I have to start the next one asap. FIX THISSSSSS! BUT I will say...even with the sadness, there is hope. Yes, I know things will get has to...right?

I really liked this one. I was sad that Marci and Julius are off doing their own thing for 80% of the book so that made me sad. I love their chemistry. I really wished they had more time to hang out and physically be there for each other during their big character developments. Yes, yes, I get that they are busy and doing their own tasks...but they need to be together! But yes, yes, I would say that is my one and only issue with this one. 

The narrator is amazinggggg as per norm. Perfect voices for everyone. Love this narrator! For sure do the audio for this series. 

In the end, I am anxious to start the next one!!! GAH! I need to know what happens next. 4 stars from me. 

- #3 for Audiobook challenge

Tuesday, January 25

TMST: Pesky Reviews

1/25/2022  What do you do when that pesky review makes you work for it?

I think my biggest struggle is ACTUALLY getting myself to sit down. But when I do struggle writing it and I can't find the words I do have a back-up plan in my pocket...

When that review is kicking my ass, I'll do my The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly format. This just simplifies and helps my list my feelings.

Sometimes that might spark my words to flow and I'll just go from there and remove my bullet points. Sometimes I just go with my bullet points and do that for my review. 

When THAT doesn't help...I'll just walk away. Maybe read a few pages again and go to bed. Sometimes your brain needs a reset. 

Monday, January 24

Blodeuedd's Monday Review: Good Neighbors by Stephanie Burgis

Series: Good Neighbors (#omnibus)

Format: 182 pages, Kindle Edition

Expected publication: February 2, 2022 by Five Fathoms Press

Cozy fantasy romance

To review

This is four novellas made into a book, and it does work well. It is just like 4 different longer chapters.

It's an 18th century world with magic and monsters , well beings, but some do want to wipe out everything different.

And Mia and her father moves into a little village. She is different and had to leave. Her nearest neighbor is an annoying necromancer (who is also hot.) In the first story they are bickering. Then they have a mission. And then there is also drama at the end with those idiots who do not like different.

Sure things happen fast because they are novellas in the end, but it work because there is not specific time of events.

Mia was cool, she could make anything mechanic, and there is a hidden thing to her too. As for Leander, sure he is a necromancer, but he seems like a decent guy. And this is a romance too so they will grow closer.

As for the end, well everyone is happy for now in their crazy little village. But I would like more from this world because it is really interesting, and those evil guys are still out there.

Cool world, interesting story and romance promised too.

When a grumpy inventor meets her outrageous new neighbor in the big black castle down the road, more than one type of spark will fly! Mia Brandt knows better than to ever again allow her true powers to be discovered. Ever since her last neighbors burned down her workshop in a night of terror and flame, she's been determined to stay solitary, safe, and - to all outside appearances - perfectly respectable...

But Leander Fabian, whose sinister castle looms over her cozy new cottage, has far more dangerous ideas in mind. When he persuades Mia into a reluctant alliance, she finds herself swept into an exhilarating world of midnight balls, interfering countesses, illicit opera house expeditions, necromantic duels, and a whole unnatural community of fellow magic-workers and outcasts, all of whom are facing a terrifying threat.

Luckily, Mia has unnatural powers of her own - but even her unique skills may not be enough to protect her new found family and help her resist the wickedly provoking neighbor who's seen through all of her shields from the beginning.

This novel-length collection includes all four stories and novellas originally published on Stephanie Burgis's Patreon in 2020-2021: Good Neighbors, Deadly Courtesies, Fine Deceptions, and Fierce Company.

Sunday, January 23

Book Review: Tea for Three by Melissa Crosby

Author: Melissa Crosby
Title: Tea for Three
(Mulberry Lane #1)
Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction
Format: ebook
Pages: 264 
Published: September 12th 2020 
Where I Got It: My shelf (Amazon)

Three women. Three cups of tea. Three new beginnings.

Sarah Gardner's husband went to sleep one night in November and never woke up. At forty-years-old, the new widow is left to care for their three children, all of whom are under the age of five.

Twenty-five-year-old Filipina, Kate Morgan, thought she had met the man of her dreams during what was a perfect summer vacation. Now married to the handsome American who had swept her off her feet, and over 8000 miles away from home, Kate soon realizes that her mother was right: vacations end and people change.

Louise Delaney couldn’t ask for anything more. At fifty-nine, she had enjoyed almost four decades of blissful marriage to Warren—may his soul rest in peace. But Louise’s seemingly perfect world is upended when she gets a visit from a sixteen-year-old who says she is Warren’s daughter.

Three exceptional women—each of whose hearts are broken into a million pieces—come together in this extraordinary tale of life, love, and true friendship.

This was a freebie on Amazon that I got last year. Finally decided to give it a read. 

We follow three women who have gone through a lot but they have found each other. They meet up and have some tea and talked about their issues. There is Sarah who's husband went to bed one night and never woke up. At forty she is left alone to care for her three children. We also have twenty-five-year-old Filipina, Kate, who thought she had met the man of her dreams. He married her and brought her home to America, but she soon realizes that he is completely different. Lastly, we have Louise who has been a widow for a few years. They had been married for nearly four decades. However, everything is about to upended when she gets a visits from a sixteen-year-old who says she is Louise's late-husband's daughter.

Am I the only one who struggled with this? *scrolls through Goodreads* It looks like the average is over 4 stars. SOOOO many 5 stars. Eeee. I seem to be in the minority here. 

Okay. I didn't hate this. I did like this, but I did have my struggles. 

My main issue was that I had a hard time really connecting with ANY of the characters. Not that they are bad. I did feel so bad for them and I wanted them happy....but I just couldn't connect.  The POV would change at the end of every chapters...maybe if we got more time with each of the characters? I'm not sure. Don't get me wrong I loved the whole 3 women...3 cups of tea....etc, but I would've loved more time with each character or something. 

Another issue I had was that the story-telling did feel a little repetitive at points. Things would be repeated multiple times. Made me want to skim especially near the end. 

Besides for those two big things...I did enjoy it overall. It was beautiful watching these women become unlikely friends and get each other through these tough times over a nice cup of tea. Of course it gave me a hunkering for drinking tea so I did find myself brewing some tea while reading this in the morning. ;) But yes, it was for sure a good chick lit and would make a great Hallmark or Netflix movie. 

In the end, I had some big issues with this and I found myself wanting to skim here and there. However....I did think this was a beautiful story of friendship and love. Sad things happen but having good friends can make all the difference. I'll give this 3 stars. 

Friday, January 21

Book Review: A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

Author: Etaf Rum
Title: A Woman is No Man
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Contemporary
Format: paperback
Pages: 384
Published: March 5th 2019
Where I Got It: Borrowed from family member for book club

Palestine, 1990. Seventeen-year-old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining the suitors her father has chosen for her. Over the course of a week, the naïve and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married, and is soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law Fareeda and strange new husband Adam, a pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children—four daughters instead of the sons Fareeda tells Isra she must bear.

Brooklyn, 2008. Eighteen-year-old Deya, Isra’s oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda’s insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. Deya can’t help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. But her grandmother is firm on the matter: the only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man.

But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path that leads her to shocking truths about her family—knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future.

My family decided to have a random book club. I think there are like 10 books overall that will be shipped around. It's fun. This is the book that was sent to me. Now that I have it done I'll ship it to the next family member. Curious to see when and what is sent to me next! 

Here we follow Isra in the 1990s who is young and loves reading in secret. Soon her father finds her a husband who seems perfect. She dreams of love and freedom, so she accepts. She thinks that is all coming true when her husband takes her away to Brooklyn. There she realizes...she has no freedom still and no love whatsoever. She is forced to suffer her oppressive mother-in-law and her strange husband that she can't seem to please. She is surrounded by his family, but she feels utterly alone in a land she doesn't know forced to have children. We also follow Deya who is Isra's oldest daughter in 2008. All she wants to do is have the freedom to go to college before she marries, but her grandmother will not allow her. Grandmother Freeda wants her to get married. Since her parents died in a car accident years previous...Deya feels conflicted. She wants to leave, but she loves her sisters. Shocking truths come out and everything will change forever. 

When I flipped to the last page I found myself with a tear in my eye. There is a line of hope, but this was just so tragic overall. We do find out the truth behind Isra's and her husband's death and a lot of other secrets. I seen it coming a mile away, but like Deya...I was blinded by hope that it wasn't so. Gah. 

I found this whole story tragic like I stated already, but I have to say it again. These women are caught in-between holding onto their culture, but also wanting to be free. I wanted to scream! You can keep the good parts of your culture and toss away the bad parts like forced marriages and being okay with the fact the men rule the roost and beat their wives. There is so much beauty in keeping the GOOD traditions alive. Just because you let go of the bad stuff doesn't mean you will lose your culture and your community. I wanted to shake everyone here! Such a sad, tragic story. 

All the characters were extremely flawed but they had some good in them too. They were all extremely complex even quiet Isra. They all felt pressure and are creatures of their up-bringing. Like Freeda...the MIL for instance. She had a terrible and poverty-filled upbringing. She really didn't know any better. She truly and utterly believed that she was doing what was best for her family by pressuring her eldest son (Isra's husband) to support ALL of them and by pressuring Isra to produce a son and marry off the young girls. It made you feel bad for all of them. 

There was ONE twist that had me clap and be happy. I can't say, but it really did bring hope for Deya and the remaining parts of the family. That made me happy. Sure it lead Deya down the tunnel of finding out the truth in what happened in 1997, but the truth HAD to come out. 

I will say that this book is a great book for a book club. There is a LOT to talk about. I wish I could say more without giving away MAJOR spoilers. This was really thought provoking and you couldn't help feel all the feels. 

My only issue was the beginning. The first like 50 pages were rough to get through. It seemed to drag on and on. I did want to quit, but I kept pushing because I knew it had to get better. I'm glad I stuck it out because then I was GLUED. I couldn't stop reading. I had to follow Isra and Deya. 

Overall, this was a great book for a book club and discussion. I feel like I could go on and on more, but I fear I'll give away spoilers. The beginning was rough, but it got better and I'm glad I stayed the course. I'll stamp this with 4 stars. 

Tuesday, January 18

2022 TBR Pile Challenge


2022 To Be Read (TBR) Pile Challenge

hosted by Roof Beam Reader
January 1 to December 31, 2022 (details)

GOAL: Read 12 books on your TBR shelf. Each of these 12 books must have been on your bookshelf or “To Be Read” list for AT LEAST one full year. This means the book cannot have a publication date of 1/1/2021 or later (any book published in the year 2020 or earlier qualifies, as long as it has been on your TBR pile). Caveat: Two (2) alternates are allowed, just in case one or two of the books ends up in the “did not finish (DNF)” pile.

This is a really hard challenge that I am going to attempt! I have SOOOO many books on list. Like VVB, I'm going to be a hair hesitant since I'm a mood reader too. Here are some tentative ones I want to try and read this year.

Monday, January 17

B's Monday Review: The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

Narrated by: Priya Ayyar

Length: 8 hrs and 16 mins

Release date: 05-12-20

Publisher: Listening Library

YA fiction

To review

One of my audiobooksync books, and since I was out of books I gave it go.

Set in Ireland, which was refreshing for once. Not that we got that much Ireland in the end, lol.

Nishat is Bengali. Attends a Catholic school. And she is gay. So first there is always racial tension, since there are not many poc students. And then the whole school finds out she likes girls. She also has problems at home because muslims are not gay. This book tackles so much, like when there is a contest at school and she decides to do henna, but her Brazilian-Irish crush also decides to do henna. So then we got cultural appropriation too.

If I have to judge something, then maybe it is handling too much. It all works, it's just, instead of anyone learning or accepting things just happen. Her parents barely speak to her, and suddenly they are cool with it. She accepts that her school is a bit racist and homophobic and that is it. I know that that happens, but no one learns a thing. Not that is her job though. But maybe a focus on 2 out of 3 would have given more time for subjects.

Because now we have Nishat falling for Flavia, and maybe there is romance too ;)

All in all, it was a good book that tackled a lot of difficult subjects. I can't say if I have read a single book set in Bangledesh or with Bengali characters. It's always their western neighbors that you read about

Good narration. She did well with different characters and got tone and age very well.

When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.

Flávia is beautiful and charismatic and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst sabotage and school stress, their lives get more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush on Flávia, and realizes there might be more to her than she realized.

Sunday, January 16

Book Review: Changeling by Yasmine Galenorn

Author: Yasmine Galenorn
Title: Changeling
(Otherworld / Sisters of the Moon #2)
Genre: Fantasy, UF, Paranormal Romance
Format: ebook
Pages: 304
Published: June 5th 2007
Where I Got It: My shelf (Friend gave me copy)

We're the D'Artigo Sisters: Half-human, half-Faerie, we're savvy--and sexy--operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. But our mixed-blood heritage short-circuits our talents at all the wrong times. My sister Camille is a wicked-good witch whose magic is as unpredictable as the weather. My sister Menolly is a vampire trying to get the hang of being undead. And me? I'm Delilah. When I'm under stress, I transform into a tabby cat--and a series of violent murders is really getting me bent out of shape...

My friend gave me book 2 a while back. Kept forgetting/running out of time to get started. Finally dusted this off and give it a read!

Camille was book 1 and now we have the next sister named Delilah. These sisters are half-human and half-Faerie. They work for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency and they are good at their jobs except that because of their mixed blood sometimes their talents get short-circuited. Delilah, when she is under stress, transforms into a tabby cat instead of a big cat. When a series of violent murders start happening, they need to get to the bottom of it. 

I adored Delilah. I liked her WAY more than Camille. Not that Camille was a bad egg or anything....I just really liked Delilah. Camille is okay but I get SO annoyed by her. She is so perfect and so hawt and all the men in the world want her. UGH. Annoying. Delilah is much more relatable. Yes, she is a hawtie...but it's not in your face. 

She does have a mini love triangle pop up, but you know one is just lust and the other guy she actually really wants to be with. The Fae do not play by mortal rules though....they usually are not a one-partner-type. Good for them, but UGH I would get annoyed about hoping the men play nice. 

Anyway....the mystery was good. It took me a while to really get into this. Things seemed to drag on and on though. I found myself wanting to skim a couple of times. But once the ball got going, I couldn't stop reading. 

Overall, I did have fun. It was slow sometimes, but I was curious and I liked Delilah a lot. I am interested in book 3 because I want to learn more about Menolly the other sister. I'll give this 3 stars. 

Friday, January 14

Audiobook Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

Author: N.K. Jemisin
Narrator: Casaundra Freeman
Title: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
(Inheritance Trilogy #1)
Genre: Fantasy, Sci Fi, YA, Romance
Format: Audiobook
Published: February 25th 2010
Where I got It: Borrowed from library

Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.

Okay...I finally tried it! This has been sitting on my TBR list for an eon. Years indeed. Found the audio free at my library! Yayy for the library!

Soooo...the summary the book has does not do this justice AT all. This is a complex world...complex story. 

We have Yeine who is from the north. The north is full of "barbarians". Her mother was from Sky but married a man from the north. After her mother dies mysteriously, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. She is named an heiress to the king...her grandfather. She is not alone though. There are two others who are also named heirs....her cousins. The throne is not easily won and Yeine will learn that there is a lot to this kingdom. 

This felt heavy. Very heavy....but the author really did a good job easing you into this world and the characters. No crazy confusion. I would adore a prequel with our Gods in this world to better understand them and why they fell into servitude. It would make a heck of a book. 

But yes, you read right, their Gods have been made into slaves through some God politic nonsense. The Gods truly made us in their image that is for sure. They made their own monsters and they paid the price for years, years as slaves to the mortals. I found this extremely sad but an interesting part of the story and world. 

Things do get complex really quick. I am curious how the paper/ebook would be. I had to rewind a couple of times because I felt like I missed something. You really have to pay attention especially in the thick of it. 

Now....we do follow Yeine. She is our hero destined to die. I didn't like her. Sure, she is young, but she felt WAY too naïve for being from the north. Yes, she isn't used to this extreme and dangerous politic game, but there were times I felt she was too naïve at times. 

I do go back and forth on how I feel about her little romance with one of the Gods. He is a dark, brooding, bad boy. Don't get me wrong....I love those bad boys too ;) but...he always away an inch away from killing her. It was for sure a complex relationship to say the least. I will say though I am SUPER happy that the romance is not at ALL a main part of the story. It is there, but there are bigger things for Yeine and everyone else to focus on.

This falls into the YA category and I could sense some YA elements here and there, but this is for the older end of the YA scope. Def some adult themes at some points like the smexy parts. 

That That is all I can say. 

The narrator was amazing. I didn't recognize the name...but as we were going along I knew I heard her voice. I've seen her in some TV shows. So that was nice hearing her voice! She was perfect especially for our main character. 

In the end, I really did enjoy this. I had some issues with Yeine and that romance, but they are easy to look over in the end. I may check out book 2 someday. I know it is about someone else, but I am curious seeing more in this world. I'll give this 3 stars. 

- #2 for Audiobook challenge

Tuesday, January 11

TV Special - Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts

Film Title:
Harry Potter 20th Anniversary- Return to Hogwarts
Length:   1h 42m
Released: 2022
Genre:  TV special, Documentary
Rating: PG
Where I Got It: HBO Max

Cast members from all "Harry Potter" films reunite in a retrospective special to celebrate the anniversary of the first film, including interviews and cast conversations

I wasn't planning on reviewing this. But I also planned on watching it LIVE, but didn't. Breaking all the rules, eh? 

The cast of the Harry Potter movies are back to chat and go behind-the-scenes. A reunion of sorts. 

I am so glad I didn't watch this live. From what I read on Twitter and other sources I guess there had been a couple oopsies. Like putting the wrong name on the wrong person. Yikes!!!

The producers when back and made the fixes before it was placed on HBO max for us non-livers who wanted to watch. I'm glad they made the fixes, but just WOW. They should've double-checked their work FOR sure. 

This really did bring the feels. It was awesome learning about some behind-the-scenes stories and seeing some clips that didn't make it into the films. It was fun learning about personal relationships between the cast. I also loved seeing them talk and just remember the good and the bad times. Like Rupert asked Emma why she thought about leaving the HP films. He had never asked in the past, so he thought to ask then.

I do wish, though, that we had a scene at least where everyone that could sat together at a table and had dinner. I get with COVID, I'm sure some of the actors probably didn't feel comfy, but I would've loved it. We mainly had maybe 2 or 3 together at most. Some solo interviews too. I thought it woulda been nice to see them all around the table like the Wesleys enjoying each other's company and some HP inspired food. Or something. 

Overall, this was a very sweet and fun documentary. I loved seeing all these familiar faces. I grew up next to these guys! It was nice to learn more about the people who played our beloved characters. 

I for sure recommend this. I'll give it 4 stars. 

Monday, January 10

Blodeuedd's Monday Review: Five Daughters Out at Once by Jayne Bamber

Narrated by: Stevie Zimmerman

Length: 13 hrs and 7 mins

Release date: 12-06-21

Publisher: Jayne Bamber

Austen variation


I do like a fun PP variation, and here I soon realised this would be quite different.

Lady Catherine the Burgh was nice! Yes, I know I was shocked. She had suffered losses and now wanted to take the poor Bennett sisters under her protection as they also had suffered losses.

Mr Collins was still an asshat by the way.

But that is not what was different, no, there is to be a houseparty and suddenly a lot of other Austen men shows up. Mr Ferrars, Henry Tilney, Colonel Brandon among others. And even though this was pride and prejudice so manages to mix in Persuasion, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey for some Gothic mystery, and Mansfield Park. Very well done.

Lots of drama, new love interests, a Darcy that is really shy, a Georgiana who is writing a book, and a mystery.

A fun story since I never knew where it would lead me with all these new people in it. But at least one thing is constant. Lizzy will always get her Darcy in the end.

Stevie Zimmerman was a great narrator. Considering the cast of character she did well with different voices. You always knew where you had everyone. She was a really good fit for this book and made it truly enjoyable.

After the untimely death of their parents, Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters are left to make their own way in the world, and the dubious decision to stay at Longbourn until they are forced out leads to chaos and confrontation two years later, when their cousin Mr. Collins comes to claim his inheritance. Hot on his heels is his noble patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, a woman consumed by grief of her own after the loss of her husband and daughter in a terrible fire at her estate, Rosings Park. While her nephew Mr. Darcy is shocked by his aunt’s interest in the five orphaned girls, her niece Georgiana thinks it just the thing to soothe the dowager’s low spirits. Moved by the bonds of sorrow and a shared contempt of Mr. Collins, Lady Catherine offers the Bennet sisters her protection and assistance in society – and what better way to help them than to find them all rich husbands?

Much to her chagrin, Lady Catherine is not the only one to meddle in Meryton’s marriage mart – Richard Fitzwilliam joins her, at leisure to make mischief, Charlotte Lucas, now an heiress in her own right, has a secret of her own, and Georgiana Darcy finds herself inspired to write a novel that will document – and change – the lives of her new friends.

Tensions rise between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy as they both bristle at Lady Catherine’s plans – for very different reasons. Misapprehension and misunderstandings abound and plans go awry as the great lady rents Netherfield Park and hosts a horde of single gentlemen in possession of good fortunes, who must be in want of wives. Will the Bennet sisters find love and happiness? What other Austen heroes and rakes might appear in the once dull village of Meryton? Will Darcy and Lizzy overcome the obstacles of their own making?

Friday, January 7

Book Review: Southern Spirits by Angie Fox

Author: Angie Fox
Title: Southern Spirits
(Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries #1)
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Format: ebook
Pages: 270
Published: January 13th 2015
Where I Got It: My shelf (Amazon)

One simple mistake…
For a girl who is about to lose her family home,
Releases the ghost of a long-dead gangster,
And opens Verity Long’s eyes to a whole new world.

When out of work graphic designer Verity Long accidentally traps a ghost on her property, she’s saddled with more than a supernatural sidekick—she gains the ability see spirits. It leads to an offer she can’t refuse from the town’s bad boy, the brother of her ex and the last man she should ever partner with.

Ellis Wydell is in possession of a stunning historic property haunted by some of Sugarland Tennessee’s finest former citizens. Only some of them are growing restless—and destructive. He hires Verity to put an end to the disturbances. But soon, Verity learns there’s more to the mysterious estate than floating specters, secret passageways, and hidden rooms.

There’s a modern day mystery afoot, one that hinges on a decades-old murder. Verity isn't above questioning the living, or the dead. But can she discover the truth before the killer finds her?

Sooooo I read a short story from this series that was like 8.5 (whoops) but I have had my eye on this series for a while, so I decided to just jump into it!

We follow Verity Long who is flat out not having a good time. She is out of work, she may lose her family home, a long list of bills, and now she accidentally traps a ghost on her property. Not only does she get herself saddled with a supernatural sidekick, but she also now can see spirits. Thanks to this she is given an offer she can't refuse from her ex's brother. Ellis is in possession of a stunning property but it is severely haunted. These ghosts are restless and destructive. Verity takes the job to try and soothe these spirits and end the disturbances. Soon, she will realize, there is much more to this mysterious estate and to Ellis. 

Okay...screw the Wyndell family and Ellis' mom and Ellis (at the beginning). Verity was wronged deeply by her ex....and they made her seem like the bad guy. Verity is a better woman than I am. I would've sang from the rooftops about how my ex cheated on me with SO many different woman. Consequences be damned. But she has a heart of gold and I am a petty monster. ;) 

But yes, I loved Verity and I love her sidekicks. We have her ghostly one, Frankie, and her pet skunk. Love them! They are the dynamic trio. 

Ellis....I have warmed up to him. When he learns the truth his tune changes MIGHTY quickly. Good. Verity deserves the world darnit!!! I hope by book 2 I will adore him. Right now...I'm feeling okay with him, I don't love him yet. We shall see. 

Ooooooo! That mystery was good. It gave me the chills!! Literally. I was reading this and when one scene happened my arms were littered with goosebumps. That was wicked good and I didn't see it coming. 

I can't wait to get my hands on book 2!

In the end, I really, really adored this book. I love Verity and her sidekicks! They make a great team. Ellis....I need more time with. I'm warming up to the fella though! The mystery was killer. I'll give this 5 stars overall. SOOOO good. Can't wait to start book 2 soon!


Thursday, January 6

Audiobook Review: Miss Frost Says I Do by Kristen Painter

Author: Kristen Painter
Narrator: Hollis McCarthy
Title: Miss Frost Says I Do
(Jayne Frost #7)
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Format: Audiobook
Published: November 21st 2019
Where I got It: Audible 

Welcome to the North Pole, the town where Christmas is everyone’s job.

Jayne Frost is a lot of things. Winter elf, Jack Frost's daughter, Santa Claus's niece, heir to the Winter Throne and soon to be newlywed.

Now that she and fiancé Sinclair (and their cats, Spider and Sugar) have moved back to the North Pole, they’re firmly entrenched in planning their wedding. With Jayne’s royal heritage, it’s a major undertaking.
And while Jayne is trying to organize the myriad details, Sinclair is taking the necessary classes to learn how to be a royal and adjust to his impending new life as Prince Consort. But with too much assistance from her well-meaning mother and aunt, Jayne quickly gets overwhelmed.
Sinclair suggests calling a friend to help, the ever-resourceful Birdie Caruthers. Jayne does, and Birdie is thrilled to pitch in. Not long after she arrives, however, the trio discovers the most terrible thing in the wedding carriage.
Will this dreadful discovery derail the wedding? Or can they solve the problem in time to make it to the altar unscathed? Make no bones about it, this is some serious trouble.

Eeeekkkk I've been saving this for around Xmas time. I even wanted to wait longer, but I couldn't resist. I am so sad this series is done. :( 

Jayne Frost is getting married to Sinclair. Time is ticking and she is stressed. Weddings are not fun planning. Things get a little more hairy when they discover a body in the wedding carriage. Will this derail the wedding or can they find out who this body is and who killed them? 

Yayyyyy Jayne is finally getting hitched! I was Team what-his-bucket, but I can't even remember his name anymore (literally) so I guess that means I'm Team Sinclair now. haha. They are really perfect for each other and I have grown to adore him. He's a sweetie and really does Jayne some good.

Poor girl. I'm in the midst of planning my wedding and it is a pain the romp. I can't even begin to imagine if I had to plan a BIGGER wedding that will be witnessed by the whole (well - supernatural) world. *shudders* I am so glad she got Birdie to come and help. Birdie is perfect. 

Now...the mystery was easily solved and the killer was found quickly. Thank you Sinclair! I was hoping for more trouble and issues. There was something near the end, but that was easily resolved too. 

However, I am torn....I'm glad we got to focus a lot on the wedding and Jayne meeting Sinclair's parents (finally). That reveal about his mom was a shocker!! Won't give any spoilers away. ;) 

Sighssss I am so sad. I want more of Jayne and this world. Maybe someday? Maybe one of Jayne's friends will get some spotlight?? This world is so much fun. Sighhhssss my poor heart is shattered. Wah!

The narrator was fantastic OF course. She did the majority of the series (I think the short story about Birdie had someone else) and she was perfect. Her voices fit to a T. 

Overall, I am saddened that this series has come to a close, but I enjoyed the journey of Jayne. I loved watching her come into her own. Grow up and get married. I hope to see more of her someday. I'm a hair bummed the mystery was easily solved, but I am also glad we got to focus on Jayne and Sinclair planning the wedding and getting married. Soooo I am torn! I'll go ahead and give this a 4. Not a bad way to end the series. 

- #1 for Audiobook challenge
- #2 "Fantasy Setting"