Thursday, June 30

Audiobook Review: How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole

Author: Alyssa Cole
Narrator: Karen Chilton
Title: How to Catch a Queen
(Runaway Royals #1)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit
Format: Audiobook
Published: December 1st 2020
Where I got It: Borrowed from library

When Shanti Mohapi weds the king of Njaza, her dream of becoming a queen finally comes true. But it’s nothing like she imagined. Shanti and her husband may share an immediate and powerful attraction, but her subjects see her as an outsider, and everything she was taught about being the perfect wife goes disastrously wrong.

A king must rule with an iron fist, and newly crowned King Sanyu was born perfectly fitted for the gauntlet, even if he wishes he weren’t. He agrees to take a wife as is required of him, though he doesn’t expect to actually fall in love. Even more vexing? His beguiling new queen seems to have the answers to his country’s problems—except no one will listen to her.

By day, they lead separate lives. By night, she wears the crown, and he bows to her demands in matters of politics and passion. When turmoil erupts in their kingdom and their marriage, Shanti goes on the run, and Sanyu must learn whether he has what it takes both to lead his people and to catch his queen.

Been itching to read more by this author! Love her books and characters and this world!

Here we follow Sanyu and Santi. Sanyu is the newly crowned king and Shanti is his arranged wife. All her life she wanted to be a queen and make a difference in the world. She thought her prayers were answered when she wed the new king of Njaza, but her dreams are shattered. There is an obvious attraction between her and her new husband, but he wants nothing to do with her. The people and advisors see her as an outsider and will not listen to her. Sanyu doesn't think he can take his father's place and he doesn't think he can lead this nation his father built. When turmoil erupts in their kingdom and their already shaky marriage, Shanti decides to leave. Sanyu must learn whether he has what it takes to lead his people and catch his queen and actually have her by his side instead of in the shadows. 

Sanyu was for sure set up for failure. I felt so bad for him! He father never kept a wife. Also tossed them to the side...including Sanyu's own mother. The advisors will not listen and think they know best. There is an advisor who is supposed to be like a second father to him, but constantly undermines him and tells him he is nothing but a failure. Ya....and how is Sanyu supposed to rule effectively? SMH

And yes, I felt for Shanti. She has dreams of wearing a crown and making an actual difference in the world. She wants to give people rights and do good. The wrong kingdom to marry into that is for sure! The old king was known for tossing many a wife. None of them stuck. 

But right away you can see they are meant to be together. They fit each other perfectly for marriage/love and for ruling a nation together! took FOREVER for them to see it too. Which worked, but drove me to insanity.

So that is the obvious issue for me. It took forever and when they finally step up and tell the advisors to back-off and admit they love each was done. We did get an epilogue, but it wasn't enough for me. I really wanted to see a little bit more of them fighting side-by-side and loving each other at night. Some of the boring parts of her being all alone could've been trimmed a bit. Give us more of the love!!

But that was my only issue. 

The narrator was PERFECT for these two!!!

In the end, I wanted more of them being an actual loving couple fighting for their people. We only got a little bit of that before the story ended. Other than that, I adored them finding their way to each other and finding themselves. Can't wait to read more! 4 stars from me. 

- #29 for Audiobook challenge

Tuesday, June 28

Book Review: Every Earl Has a Silver Lining by Anna Markland

Author: Anna Markland
Title: Every Earl Has a Silver Lining
(Earls Are Wild #1)
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: ebook
Pages: 274
Published: March 25th 2021 
Where I Got It: My shelf (Amazon)

He was content as a soldier; now, unexpectedly, he's an earl

Can a career soldier, an officer in the British Army with the humble surname of Smith, successfully manage a prosperous earldom he unexpectedly inherits?

Gabriel makes his first mistake when he falls in love with his predecessor’s beautiful young widow, Lady Emma Crompton. He faces a second hurdle—he is slowly being poisoned with arsenic. A double mystery unfolds when it comes to light Lady Emma’s deceased husband was also suffering from arsenic poisoning.

Is there a curse on the Earls of Farnworth or are there other forces at work that will rob Gabe and Emma of their chance to find true love?

Stumbled upon this on the freebie section on Amazon, so why not. 

Here we follow Gabriel and Emma. Gabriel is a career soldier in the British Army. He suddenly has the earldom fall on his lap. Emma is his predecessor's widow. The two come together to find out who poisoned the former earl and who is poisoning Gabriel now. Will the two find out in time and will they find the love along the way?

This started out strong for me. I was hooked right away!!!! However, it all fell apart. 

I nearly DNFed this, but the beginning was SO strong that I didn't want to stop. I kept reading on in hopes it would get better. However, I found myself skimming and speed reading as much as I could. I really didn't want to DNF since I just did the other day. 

Finally it ended and I was relieved. The ending was better-ish, but still I felt meh about everyone and everything that happened. 

Not for me. But I am proud I pushed through and didn't DNF again. 

I'll give this 2 stars. The beginning had a lot of promise so that gets a star. I wish I had liked the rest though. :/ 


Monday, June 27

Not-Quite-So-Saturday Joint Review: Heartstopper (s1)

This month we decided to review season 1 of Heartstopper!

Blodeuedd is in red and I am in purple.

Title:  Heartstopper
Genre: Drama, Romance
Released: 2022
Season: 1
Rating: TV-14

Teens Charlie and Nick discover their unlikely friendship might be something more as they navigate school and young love in this coming-of-age series.
Click here for the trailer. 

We decided to watch a TV series this time. Heartstopper on Netflix. I had heard amazing things

Yes! I love a good shake up. Plus this looked SO good. 

I was confused at first, I did not realised it was set in the UK. And it does bring such a different feel than a US show ;) I really liked that. Everyone felt so normal you know. 

Esp with the little graphics that would pop up. Like the little hearts. It was so cute and I loved the feel of the show. It felt like normal life. Not overly dramatic, but real. 

Yes, so real, so funny with the little hearts and things. So cute, and I was so rooting for them.

I literally had all the emotions. I loved how they had a lot of representation. That was touching! I want a 2nd season. I feel like there is so much more story to tell. Esp with Tao and Elle. 

Did I check or not? I am sure a 2nd is coming, it must be. This was a hit

I didn’t check. I would think season 2 would be a thing eventually. This was a hit! I just hope they leave Charlie and his boy alone. I want them to have as little drama as possible. LOL They melted my heart. Oooooo that scene with Nick and his mum!!!! OMG I was crying and clapping. 

They always do it though. Silly drama. Another love interest, some conflict. I just want them to be happy!!!!!!!

Sammeeee. I can handle a tiny bit of drama. Maybe Ben tries to win Charlie back? But I hope they focus more on Tao and Elle. Or even Tara and her girlfriend. Maybe Imogen can get a small storyline. I liked her. She was so sweet. 

I’d like that Tao and Elle, and what about Charlie’s sister? She was just kind of in the background. She could have a story too

Trueeeeee Charlie’s sister needs a spotlight. I would like to learn more about her and her world. I think she is graduated? See? I don’t even remember. 

She had a school uniform? We never really saw her. Oh well, there are at least more stories to tell

Yes indeed! There is a lot of stories to tell. But I did love watching Charlie and Nick fall in love. I loved watching Nick find his true self. This gave me all the feels. 

It really was one for the feels, I am happy we chose it.

I am too! It only has 8 episodes and they are not very long so it was a quick watch. I am thinking of rewatching it. 

I do like a good binge! And that is what you do it was a good binge series. Really good. Can't say anything bad. The end?

Zero issues! Loved every minute. Def worth the watch!
Yes, the end! 

Thursday, June 23

DNF - Skyborn by Leia Stone

Author: Leia Stone
Title: Skyborn
(Dragons & Druids #1)
Genre: UF, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy
Format: ebook
Pages: 284
Published:  December 10th 2017
Where I Got It: My shelf (Amazon)

Alone, on the run, and fighting for her life.

Sloane Murphy thought hiking the Grand Canyon alone after graduation would be an awesome adventure. Until she slips and starts to plummet to her death. Then the unthinkable happens.

She transforms into… a dragon.

After flying to safety and trying to convince herself she isn’t having a mental breakdown, the hunters come for her. She runs, somehow managing to stay one step ahead of them. Until her luck runs out. Now the hunters have her and they intend to kill, not capture.

That’s when he comes for her.

Logan Sharp is the last dragon shifter alive. Or so he thinks, until he gets word that the druids are hunting a red headed female. His team takes her in, sheltering her because there is a truth she must learn: if the skyborn die out, then so does humanity.

But Sloane is hiding a dark secret that she doesn’t even know yet. A secret that could change everything.

Looking at Goodreads this book seems to be a hit or miss. I decided to take my chances since it was a freebie on Amazon. 

Sadly, I stopped after I finished chapter 3. I was confused and I was done. I had zero desire to continue on and I tried to get myself to read more, but after a couple of days I threw in the white flag of surrender. 

I felt like I was dropped part way through a 10-book series. I had no idea what was going on. I had no idea what the world was like and I had read three chapters. 

Not for me. But there are a lot of folks who love this. So you will either love it or hate it. 50/50 chance and sadly I fell on the negative side of the fence. 

DNF. :/ 

Wednesday, June 22

Audiobook Review: Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Author: Casey McQuiston
Narrator: Ramon de Ocampo
Title: Red, White & Royal Blue
Genre: LGBT, Contemporary Romance, YA, New Adult
Format: Audiobook
Published: May 14th 2019
Where I got It: Borrowed from library

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations. The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

Been wanting to read this for a bit and then I saw that they announced this was becoming a movie so I knew I had to finally buckle down and read this. I found this at my library as an yayy!

Here we follow Alex and Henry. Alex is the son of the first US woman president. Henry is the grandson of the Queen of England. The two have been enemies since they were kids but it was never in the press. Until photos of a confrontation are leaked to the tabloids. Damage control is needed especially since the President is up for re-election and the throne has had some issues themselves. What can fix this? Oh, a fake friendship! As things go on, they realize they might actually have a lot in common. Friendship blooms and then something more. 

This took me forever to finish. I found myself going a day or two without listening. The beginning was a rough start for me and I even had a moment of wanting to DNF. However, after a certain scene, I was interested again. 

I adored Henry and Alex and you could instantly see the attraction even though they couldn't see it. I was def rooting for them! I think friendship was needed and this was a slow burn that was perfect for these two.

The ending needed more. The re-election seemed to take over the narrative and take away from the romance aspect. I wanted more Henry and Alex time! Maybe an epilogue would've helped out. I felt disappointed when the book ended. Is there going to be a book 2? I felt like the two have a lot more story to tell. I want to see their HEA! 

The narrator was okay overall, but I didn't think his voice fit completely. Maybe a duo narrator would've been the way to go? IDK, but, for me, he didn't fit Alex. Loved him for Henry though!

In the end, this was just okay for me. I wanted more of these two in the end! I felt like the re-election for Alex's mom took over a bit near the end there. I hope there is a book 2 because I feel like there is a lot for these two to deal with and dig through while they weed their way through a very public relationship. So yes. I WANT MORE! Maybe the movie will give them a better ending? We shall see. Now rating? Mmmm, I'll give it a 3. It would be a 2 but I adore Alex and Henry too much. They were so fun to watch go from lovers. They are adorable and worth the other meh stuff.  

- #28 for Audiobook challenge

Tuesday, June 21

TMST: No-Nos That Make Me Toss The Book

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post where bloggers discuss a wide range of topics from books and blogging to life in general. Weigh in and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments. If you want to do your own post, grab the question and answer it on your blog. Feel free to leave your links in the comments if you are participating.

6/21 What are book no-nos that make you figuratively want to toss a book across the room?

Oooo man. 

I would have to say super nonconsensual smexy scenes and then one character being all okay with it after like a day. NO!!! *tosses book* 

OR when one person is SUPER abusive and just flat out mean and terrible and the other character is all "That's okay. I lurve him/her/it". >_> And I don't mean tropes with enemies becoming friends or lovers. What I mean is a character literally abusing and hurting the person they so-called love and the abusee is all okay with it and makes excuses. Can't deal with that. *tosses book*

OR when a character is SO shitty and does shitty things and has shitty excuses. There was one book where a character decided to just walk away from his responsibilities as a father. "Oh, he's better off. I work way too much." WHAT? It's not like you are a druggie or whatever....but a workaholic? So just because you are TOO busy to spend time with the kid you are just gonna walk??? Literally, nope. *tosses book*

Those are just just the top three I could think of right away. 

Monday, June 20

Blodeuedd's Monday Review: Juniper and Thorn

Narrated by: Stina Neilsen

Length: 11 hrs and 55 mins

Release date: 06-21-22

Publisher: HarperAudio

Fantasy / to review

This was a dark fairytale. Mostly because it was overly grotesk in everything really.

Marrlinchen lives with her two sisters and their abusive father in a rundown house. Around them the world industrialized and he is the last wizard. Marlinchen and her sisters use their witch powers to make money.

I did like it at times, but at the same time it was just so weird. Trigger warnings with self mutilation thoughts, abuse, talk of rape. I just got this icky feelings honestly, and it was a bit too much at times and then I did not like it.

Yes conflicted thoughts about this one. She meets a guy, falls in love at once, and he with her the second time and wtf, she must have put a spell on him. Too fast.

The more I think about it the less good feelings I have. Her wolf book was great, this one was meh.

Good narration though, but that can't save it every time

As the last true witches living in a city shifting from magic to industry, Marlinchen and her two sisters are little more than tourist traps as they treat their clients with archaic remedies and beguile them with nostalgic charm. Marlinchen spends her days divining secrets in exchange for rubles and trying to placate their tyrannical, xenophobic wizard father, who keeps his daughters sequestered from the outside world. While at night, she and her sisters sneak out to enjoy the city's amenities and revel in its thrills, particularly the recently established ballet theatre, where Marlinchen meets a dancer who quickly captures her heart.

But as Marlinchen's late-night trysts grow more fervent and frequent, so does the threat of her father's rage and magic. And while the city flourishes with culture and bustles with enterprise, a monster lurks in its midst, borne of intolerance and resentment and suffused with old-world power. Caught between history and progress and blood and desire, Marlinchen must draw upon her own magic to keep her city safe and find her place within it.

Friday, June 17

Book Review: Speakeasy by Elyse Douglas

Author: Elyse Douglas 
Title: Speakeasy (Book 1)
Genre: Mystery, Romance, SciFI, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Pages: 315
Published: April 5th, 2022
Where I Got It: My shelf (Given to me by the author/publisher for my honest and unbiased opinion)

In 2019, A West Village Nightclub Singer, Roxie Raines, stumbles through a basement doorway into the past and finds herself in Roaring Twenties New York, with all its dangers, secrets, excitement, and romance.

Roxie Raines lurches through a secret basement doorway in 2019, and time-slips back to New York’s raucous Roaring Twenties. While she dazzles the speakeasy crowds with her “modern sound,” she gets trapped in the dangerous web of Frankie Shay, an evil club owner. She struggles to escape his control and return to the basement doorway that sent her to 1925.

When she meets the handsome detective, Jake Kane, it’s love at first sight, but Jake has a secret past, and her own time travel secret makes him suspicious.

Roaring Twenties New York comes alive with flappers, gangsters, romance, and speakeasies and Roxie’s stunning rise to stardom could come with the price of losing both the man she loves and her own life.

I'm so addicted to this author's time-traveling books! When I saw this coming out I had to check it out. 

Here we follow Roxie and Jake. Roxie is from 2019 and she finds herself stumbling through a basement doorway and landing in 1920s New York. In order to make her way, she sings at one of the local speakeasies. However, she gets trapped in the dangerous web of Frankie Shay. She struggles to escape and tries to find a way home. That is when she meets the handsome detective Jake Kane. It is love at first sight, but they both have secrets. 

Ooooo the 20's sound like a crazy time to be alive!!! I don't recall a book when someone time-traveled to then so that was fun to read. Seemed like a fun time, but also a super dangerous time to be alive. 

I loved watching Roxie find her footing and actually be appreciated for her musical talent. Back in 2019, she was a nobody. In 1920...they seem to love her style and her musical abilities. Good for her. 

Now...I didn't like Jake at first. I had to really warm up to him. He seemed so flaky at times, but I get it...he is a detective. He can tell Roxie isn't 100% honest so that puts him on the defense. After a certain event, I started warming up to him and I actually adored him by the end. 

I do wish we had more of Frankie. Yes, yes, he was the baddie of the tale, but I felt like we didn't see much of him and I felt he was a little 2D. I think they could've fleshed out this baddie and made him scarier. I found myself not even worrying about him or even worried about our duo. 

Dr. Hall intrigues me. I hope we get a spin-off or learn more about that tale. 

OoooooOOOOoo that ending was good! It has me wanting more. I hope the next book is about Roxie and Jake. I feel like they still have some stuff to sort through before they can have their HEA. I am itching for the next one!

In the end, I really enjoyed this. I literally can't get enough of these time-traveling novels! They are just too good. I hope we get a book 2 for this couple! There is so much left for Roxie and her man! One can hope! Now, I did have that mini issue about the main baddie, but besides that, no other issues. This is a great summer read! Mysteries, time travel, gangsters, booze, music, love....what else can you ask for? 4 stars from me!

Wednesday, June 15

Book Review: Her Vengeful King by AN Stauber

Author: A.N. Stauber
Title: Her Vengeful King (Black Heart, #1)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Drama
Format: ebook
Published: April 26th 2022
Where I Got It: My shelf (Netgalley for my honest and unbiased opinion)


Army veteran Haley Savino, ran from the west coast to avoid her monsters. The man who hurt her may not have followed, but the haunting memories did. PTSD from the trauma of her stepfather left her turning to alcohol to numb her pain. She's only ever known that men can't be trusted.

When Cal busted through her world, she struggled to find meaning in the new attraction.

Callum Murphy, heir to the Boston Irish Mafia, never expected to find a woman he loved.

When Haley entered his bar for a birthday bash, he knew he couldn't let her go. The sadness in her eyes drew him to her, but the challenge of breaking down her walls is exactly what he was missing in his life.

Can Haley finally trust a man with her heart? And can Cal be the one, even though he is the worst monster of all?

Seen this on Netgalley and it drew me in. The cover...the title...the summary. It all sounded like something I had to read. 

We follow Haley Savino and Callum Murphy. Haley was a medic in the Army and now she is a surgeon. She is struggling with her childhood trauma. She drinks to escape the monsters that haunt her. She doesn't trust anyone, especially men. Callum is the heir to the Boston Irish Mafia. He only loves his family and crew. They meet at his bar for a birthday bash. He is drawn in and can't let her go. Can Haley trust him? Can he protect her from her enemies and from her demons?

I will say this right here and right now...there are a lot of things that could trigger some folks. Haley had a terrible, terrible childhood. Her twin died at a very young age in a car accident. Years later, Haley was abandoned by her father and then was molested by her stepfather. Plus there is murder and torture which is to be expected...Cal is the heir of the mob and the mob does bad things to their enemies. So yessss just be aware. 

I felt SO bad for Haley. She has a lot of hurts and a lot of trauma. Poor thing needs a lot of therapy and a good support system. Not a spoiler since this is a romance, but Cal and his family (and her friend Andi) give her the support and resources she needs. The ending made me so happy! Haley deserves the world. 

Now......I did struggle with how controlling Cal was sometimes. I get it.... he's a badass mafia princeling, but still. You know Haley has issues and being a controlling poop doesn't help. I'm so glad she stood her ground. 

This was dark, but I did enjoy watching these two find love. They have trust issues so it really did take a while for them. They have a lot of issues to deal with before they can have their HEA. WHICH I thought worked perfect for them.

My only real big issue was that some of the smexy scenes seemed to be choppy and misplaced. Sometimes it ruined the pace of the story. There were a couple of scenes it seemed like it was just added last minute and just dropped into the middle of a scene.

Ooooo! And that cliffhanger for two side characters has me anxious! I hope it is resolved in book 2! 

But yes, overall, I enjoyed this. It was dark. Very dark. Between the Mafia world and Haley battling her could be triggering for some. I loved watching them fight together to find their HEA.  There were some scenes that seemed misplaced and choppy and the cliffhanger bugged me. However, I enjoyed this. I can't wait for book 2. I'll give this 3 stars.


Monday, June 13

Blodeuedd's Monday Review: How to Steal a Scoundrel's Heart

Narrated by: Justine Eyre

Series: The Mating Habits of Scoundrels, Book 4

Length: 11 hrs and 14 mins

Release date: 05-24-22

Publisher: HarperAudio

Historical romance /to review

Prudence and Leo, oh Leo, later he wonders why society gives her the cut. Like hello Leo! You will see.

Prudence was ruined by a man she thought would marry her. Her father threw her out. He friends stayed by her, but she feels she is out of options. Her solution, yikes, I mean she never wants to do the disgusting thing again, but she she agrees to become a mistress. And he thinks she has spread it around since that is obvious what she was up to after her fall from grace.

First, really Leo? Why believe that from the sweetest innocent woman you have met? But then he does not trust anyone cos women are evil (and yes he was hurt bad in the past). But he is really nice to her and falls fast.

As for Prudence, well I get why she chose this road, but wherever she would have hidden afterwards the truth would have found her and she would have shunned again.

But luckily this is a romance, they will fall in love and live happily ever after. And the ton can't shun her anymore.

I enjoyed it. I did want to slap them both over the head a few times, but then the road to love can't be easy

Good narration, but then Justine Eyre is one of my favorite narrators. She does historical romance so well!

Ruined debutante Prudence Thorogood lost everything when she was ousted from polite society, including her inheritance. Now she’ll do anything to take back what’s hers...even if she has to steal it. Accepting a scandalous offer from Lord Savage seems like the perfect solution to disguise her criminal intentions from the ton. Until she discovers that there’s more to this scoundrel than meets the eye.

Leo Ramsgate, Marquess of Savage, has everything except for a heart. That organ dried up long ago after a devastating betrayal. Since then, he vowed never to trust or love again. He ensures that his dalliances are mutually satisfying, but always temporary...until he meets the reserved Miss Thorogood. Not one of his previous lovers has ever beguiled him the way she does. Not one has made him want to break his own rules. Not one has tempted him to keep her...forever. 

Prue has every intention of disappearing from London after their affair ends. But her plan falters when she finds herself falling hopelessly in love with a man who may never love her in return. With time running out and so much at stake, she cannot help but wonder.... 

Saturday, June 11

Movie Review: The King (2019)

Title: The King
Length:  2h 20m
Released: 2019
Genre:  Historical, Biography, Drama
Rating: R
Where I Got It: Netflix

Hal, wayward prince and heir to the English throne, is crowned King Henry V after his tyrannical father dies. Now the young king must navigate palace politics, the war his father left behind, and the emotional strings of his past life.

Click here for the trailer

Been meaning to watch this. What a cast!!

Hal is a wayward prince and the reluctant heir to the English throne. After his tyrannical father dies, he takes the throne and now has to navigate palace politics, the wars his father left behind, and emotional strings. 

This made me sad for Hal. I felt so bad for him which I think was the whole concept. He didn't want the throne. He didn't want war. All he wanted was peace. How true that really is, who knows, but this version of Henry V touched my heart. I feel like I would be the same. I wouldn't want war. Just peace and happiness, but he is forced to fight France and I feel like that would happen to me too.

They make it seem like the war with France was just one big battle. I believe the war lasted nearly a year...maybe 6 months or so? I can't remember.

I also was a little annoyed that it just pretty much ended. If I didn't know anything about Henry V then I would think he and his new wife lived happily ever after. It would've been nice to have an epilogue or something that they normally do at the end of a historical film. I was surprised they didn't do that.

Now, the film was a little slow, but it worked. We slowly see things starting to escalate between Henry and France and Henry and his politicians. The slowness was nice. Which is weird to say. Hahaha. But we got to learn more about Henry V and the world. 

Overall, I liked this a lot. However, I wanted more of a conclusion in the end. I would say google after you are done watching if you don't know anything about Henry V. ;) I also wished that they showed more of the war. They could've trimmed some of the beginning to give us more war. But yes, if you like historicals watch this. I'll give it 3 stars.    

Friday, June 10

Graphic Novel Review: José and the Pirate Captain Toledano

Author: Arnon Z. Shorr

Illustrator: Joshua M Edelglass
Title: José and the Pirate Captain Toledano
Genre: Historical Fiction, Children’s Graphic Novels, YA 
Pages: ebook, 96 pages*
Published: January 1st 2022 
Where I Got It: Given to me by the author/publisher for my honest and unbiased opinion

*Available in Print and ebook

Jose and the Pirate Captain
Set in the shadows of the Spanish Inquisition, this is the coming-of-age story of José Alfaro, a young refugee who forms a powerful bond with the mysterious Pirate Captain Toledano. It’s also a dynamic pirate adventure on the high seas, with hand-to-hand combat and ship-to-ship action, and the powerful story of a dark time in history when people took different paths to survive. José Alfaro is a cocky, rambunctious teen in the 16th-century colony of Santo Domingo, pulling pranks and dodging the authorities. One day, José’s mischief lands him in serious trouble. Hoping for a fresh start, he stows away on the Laqish, not knowing that it’s a pirate ship. From his hiding place, he watches the pirates divide their loot and plan their attacks on long days at sea. He also takes note of the respect they have for their captain, the intimidating Toledano. But the captain has a secret―like José, he is a Jew. For him, piracy is not about the gold; it has a different purpose. Under the tutelage of the ship’s quartermaster, José learns the intricacies of pirate life. But when he can, the captain finds ways to pull José away from the crew, to teach him about his ancestors.

View Trailer Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano by Arnon Z. Shorr

 When I was a wee thing myself I LOVED anything pirates so I know this would've been perfect for me so I knew I had to check this out. That cover...the storyline...the title....perfection!

Here we follow José Alfaro who is a young refugee. After certain events, he finds himself on a pirate ship and forms a powerful bond with the mysterious Pirate Captain Toledano. Set during the Spanish Inquisition, José and the captain have a secret that is dangerous for themselves and their crew. 

I finished this in one sitting. I literally couldn't stop reading! I had to know what was going to happen to our hero, his family, his friends, and his crew. No one is safe during the Spanish Inquisition! Such a dangerous and dark time. 

It made me sad watching José be forced to grow up so quickly. He went from a standard rambunctious and carefree teen to a young adult with a dangerous secret and worry and sadness. But he never lost his spirit! 

I loved watching him and Captain Toledano form a friendship. It was nice seeing the captain take José under his wing. 

By the end, I found that I enjoyed it, but it also saddened me. Some people are just so evil. Humans can really stink, but I loved the ending message here. There is hope for humanity, but it is a rough road. 

I loved, loved, LOVED the art. It was perfect for this story. It was a perfect balance of realistic vs animated. I think kids will really like it.

The only thing I consider an "issue" is that I felt like we needed more. I would've loved to see/read more of José's lessons with Captain Toledano. Learn more about the history of the Jewish people and the religion. Maybe see more about what it takes to be a pirate like fighting, etc. Maybe an extra couple of pages? I think that would've been an extra cherry on top.

In the end, I really enjoyed reading this. Can this please be made into a TV show or a movie??? I would for sure watch that! The story, the characters, the message...bravo. If you like historical fiction you'll enjoy this. I think this would be a good story for kids...especially if they like pirates. It has a great message at the end. Overall, I shall stamp this with 4 stars. 

This giveaway is for 2 print copies One for each of 2 winners. This giveaway is open to the U.S. only and ends on July 1, 2022 midnight, pacific time. Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 8

Audiobook Review: Highland Vixen by Mary Wine

Author: Mary Wine
Narrator: Antony Ferguson
Title: Highland Vixen
(Highland Weddings #2)
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Audiobook
Published: February 7th 2017
Where I got It: Borrowed from library

Fierce Highland war chief seeks comely lass for fun, frolic, and marriage

Marcus MacPherson is every inch the fearsome Highlander. He's used to men averting their eyes and women cowering before him. He thinks he'll eventually settle down with a nice, obedient bride. Instead, he gets Helen Grant... Stubborn as the day is long, fearless and dedicated to raising as much hell as possible, Helen is definitely going to challenge Marcus. And challenge him some more. And then some.

It's anyone's guess who'll win this battle of the heart... 

Read book 1 a while back. Seen this one as an audio from my library so why not. 

We follow Marcus who is every inch the fearsome Highlander. He's used to men averting their eyes and women cowering. Not Helen Grant though. She is stubborn, fearless, and dedicated to challenging Marcus every step of the way. 

I barely remember the happenings from book has been so long, but this did okay as a standalone. There were some reminders and conversations about the events of the past, so I was able to remember some stuff. 

I remember not liking Marcus AT all from book 1. I think that is why I didn't hustle to read book 2. He is an arse with a couple A. However...we got to learn more about him and see the real man behind the tough exterior. He really had to earn Helen's love! GOOD. She didn't just give in. It took a while. 

Which, I love Helen. She was perfect for Marcus and never lost an inch of herself. They will make an excellent team. I feel like there are some bad storms heading towards the MacPherson lands. Darn, that Earl. 

Ugh...I did get really annoyed at how often poor Helen was kidnapped and taken throughout not only book 1, but here too. Sighs. I just wanted her to grab a sword and be her own hero.

Awwww poor Brenda. She deserves the world and then some! I am really mad at how dirty the author did her. I believe she gets a book of her own later on, so that person better be a saint and bow down at her feet. She is a hero!

The narrator was good. I enjoyed his voices overall. The girls all sounded the same, but if you pay attention there were small changes. 

Overall, I enjoyed this. Lots of drama. Lots of issues between Marcus and Helen, BUT it was needed. I am mad about how badly Brenda was treated, so I hope she gets her justice soon. In the end, I'll give this 3 stars

- #27 for Audiobook challenge

Tuesday, June 7

TMST: Favorite Couple/Character

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post where bloggers discuss a wide range of topics from books and blogging to life in general. Weigh in and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments. If you want to do your own post, grab the question and answer it on your blog. Feel free to leave your links in the comments if you are participating.

June 7th: who is your all-time favorite couple or character? 

Oooooooh my 'Lanta. This is a tough question!! I nearly skipped this week's prompt just because it is a toughie. BUT I shall try. 

I feel like my "favorite" changes over the years. 

However, I will say I love, love, LOVE Eomer from 'Lord of the Rings'. Loved him in the books and in the movies. I used to be obsessed with Legolas, but as an adult, I am in love with Eomer. 

For couples, I love Anne and Captain Wentworth from 'Persuasion'

There are plenty of others, but those three are the first people I thought of right off the bat. 

Monday, June 6

Blodeuedd's Monday Review: The Messy Lives of Book People

Imprint: Harlequin Audio

Narrated by: Katey Sobey

9 hours and 50 min

On Sale: 05/31/2022


To review

Liv works as a cleaner, one of her clients is a famous writer. One that she has been reading for 30 years and loves. Liv is 40+, has two kids and her youngest is going to uni. Her life stands still in a way, her home life stands still, and she wonder if this is all she wants.

I liked her, she was normal, she was real.

And then the story takes a turn as Essie, the author dies, and tells Liv to finish her book. So Liv tries to write a book, and finds herself while doing it.

There is also a bit of a mystery. Liv wants the main character to find true love, and she starts to investigate who Essie truly loved.

I enjoyed this one. It had a lot to offer, a little bit of everything. 

Good narration. I was there with everyone. Good voices and distinction. It flowed well.

Listen to a sample

Mother of two Liv Green barely scrapes by as a maid to make ends meet, often finding escape in a good book while daydreaming of becoming a writer herself. So she can't believe her luck when she lands a job housekeeping for her personal hero, megabestselling author Essie Starling, a mysterious and intimidating recluse. The last thing Liv expected was to be the only person Essie talks to, which leads to a tenuous friendship.

But when Essie dies suddenly, a devastated Liv is astonished to learn of her last wish: for Liv to complete Essie's final novel. But to do so Liv will have to step into Essie’s shoes, and as Liv begins to write, she uncovers secrets from the past that reveal a surprising connection between the two women—one that will change Liv’s own story forever…

Friday, June 3

Book Review: Bad Boys in Kilts by Donna Kauffman

Author: Donna Kauffman
Title: Bad Boys in Kilts
(Chisholm Brothers #1)
Genre: Anthologies, Short stories, Romance, Contemporary, & Chick Lit
Format: hardcover
Pages: 320 
Published: March 1st 2006
Where I Got It: My shelf (Flint Public Library Book Sale)

Mad. Bad. (Barely) in Plaid.

Bottoms UP
Rascal Brodie Chisholm has more charm than the law allows, which is a good thing given he's bailed out of university to run the local pub. Brodie loves everything about the pub life: the community, the darts, trading barbs with the lads, flirting outrageously with the lasses - except for Kat Henderson, of course. She'd probably kick his ass. But Kat's about to show Brodie that the woman of his dreams might just be the tomboy next door and that billiards tables can come in handy for games other than shooting pool...

On Tap
Reese Chisholm is a definite man, sure of his ideas and strong of opinion about running the family distillery - until American Daisy MacDonnell shows up. The red-headed beauty has a lot of fancy ideas about promoting his family's whiskey on the Web, singing their praises (very embarrassing) or something. Not that Reese can remember what she says when she's sitting in front of him. He's too busy fantasizing. Moors. Heather. Frolicking and rolling and moaning and....No. Reese Chisholm is all business. He knows what he wants. And what he wants is Daisy...

Night Watch
Tristan always felt he'd been born a century too late. He was a sheepherder, both by profession and desire, with a poet's heart and a need to share a deep, hungry passion with one special woman. Bestselling author Bree Sullivan has come to Scotland looking to escape the paparazzi. Now, a surprise rainstorm has her stuck in the middle of nowhere, rescued by the world's hunkiest sheepherder. And suddenly, being along is the last thing on her mind...

Go on...Tartan up your sex life..

Picked this up a while back. It's been collecting dust on my bookshelf. Decided to finally dive into this! This is an anthology with 3 stories. 

Bottoms UP

We follow Brodie and Kat. He runs the local pub and she works on cars. They have been friends forever, but Kat has loved him for years. 

This was such a cute friends-to-lovers story! You could tell that Brodie even had some sort of feelings for her, but he didn't even know. Men are blind.

I also loved how Tomboy-ish Kat is. She works on cars and loves it! She was adorable and they were perfect for each other. I thought it was a cute flip. Normally it is the girl who works the bar and the manly man who works on cars. Loved it! Screw gender roles. 

My favorite of the three for sure! 5 stars. 

On Tap

The next one follows Brodie's brother, Reese, and Daisy. Reese is a polished and proper businessman. He only cares about supporting his family and running the family's the distillery. Daisy is an American who just came to town. She wants to help local businesses like Reese get on the map and grow. 

Reese was too stiff. Sure, I get he has to be proper since he is the face of the company now, but still....relax man. I liked Daisy...she was perfect for him. She also has her own business, but she can be relaxed and fun. Just what he needs. He'll learn that life is about balance. 

I think this couple needed more time to get to know each other. They are so different on the outside and he is just too proper.

I enjoyed it, but it wasn't my favorite. 3 stars. 

Night Watch

Lastly, we follow Tristan and Bree. Tristan wants a quiet life...he just wants to herd his sheep with a poet and painter's heart. Bree is a newly famous author who wants to get away so she came to Scotland looking for that quiet. When Bree gets into an accident after a freak storm Tristan rescues her. They find they are so different, but oh so similar. 

This one was cute! Love how they really both want simple lives. Yes, Bree loves that her book is beloved, but the American paparazzi are insane and she wants to get away and just enjoy writing again. Tristan just wants a quiet life too with his paint and his sheep. They were perfect for each other. 

They fall pretty quickly, but it seemed to work for them. They get a lot of alone time and they talk a lot which was nice. No huge drama here. 

The epilogue has me wanting more!! There is a book 2, but I think that follows the last brother who just came home. I'll have to check it out. 

4 stars for this one. 

I enjoyed this and I am kicking myself that I waited so long to read it. It's been collecting dust on my shelf for years now. I do want to check out book 2 about the last boy. Sounds like he went the ringer and deserves a HEA. Plus I like this town and everyone. They are a good sort. Can I move there???????

I am a little miffed that there was no doggie in the story like the one on the cover...not one I remember that is. That pup is so dang cute! 

In the end, this was good. All three stories were cute. I wanted more for the 2nd one...I feel like the two didn't get much time and Reese was too proper. I'll give this 4 stars overall. For sure worth the read!

- TBR Reading Challenge (#4)