Sunday, July 31

Book Review: The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig

Author: Chuck Wendig
Title: The Book of Accidents
Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Mystery, Paranormal, SCI-FI, Thriller
Format: ebook
Pages: 528
Published: July 20th 2021
Where I Got It: My Shelf (Amazon)

Long ago, Nathan lived in a house in the country with his abusive father—and has never told his family what happened there.

Long ago, Maddie was a little girl making dolls in her bedroom when she saw something she shouldn’t have—and is trying to remember that lost trauma by making haunting sculptures.

Long ago, something sinister, something hungry, walked in the tunnels and the mountains and the coal mines of their hometown in rural Pennsylvania.

Now, Nate and Maddie Graves are married, and they have moved back to their hometown with their son, Oliver.

And now what happened long ago is happening again . . . and it is happening to Oliver. He meets a strange boy who becomes his best friend, a boy with secrets of his own and a taste for dark magic.

This dark magic puts them at the heart of a battle of good versus evil and a fight for the soul of the family—and perhaps for all of the world. But the Graves family has a secret weapon in this battle: their love for one another.

This is one of our books for book club. Finally getting back to the book club joys now that the wedding is over!!

We follow Nate and his family. Nate had a terrible childhood and was horribly abused by his father. After his father passes, they decide to move into that house in the country. After moving in things seem to get weird. Maddie, his wife, starts having old memories resurface. Nate seems to be haunted by his father. And then there is Oliver, the son, who makes some normal friends but there is one older boy that There is something sinister in the tunnels and the mountains. There is also dark magic that will put them at the heart of a battle of good versus evil. They will have to fight for the soul of the family and the world.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought this would be an a-typical dark book with ghosts or demons or something....boy....I was partially wrong. There is such a deep complexity that starts to unfurl the further along you get. Much like that sinister tunnel. *shudders*

This was creepy and a little bit scary. At some points, I would put the book down and say, "Damn" and then I would try to explain to my hubby what was going on. There were so many twists and turns...I literally had zero ideas what was going to happen next. 

I will say there is a trigger warning to go along with this. This does talk about abuse quite a bit. Nate had been horribly abused and so was another character(s). There is also a serial killer we run into. Along with some other dark things. I can't spoil it. But yes, there is a touch of gore but not TOO much where it took away from the plot. 

I won't explain it...but I will say that I ended up feeling a little bad for Jake. I get why he was the way he was.

Loved Fig! 

Loved Nate, Maddie, and Oliver. I just wanted them to have the best life. They really deserved it. That poor family. 

Okay. Now...the ending? I have a love-hate with. I cheered about one scene at the very end. But then it was over. I hoping for something for someone, but it didn't come to be and then I felt myself get really, really sad. Sobs!!!! Again...trying not to spoil anything. But yes. It was a cool ending scene, but then it was over and I felt sad. I even waited a whole day before writing this review to see how I ended up feeling. I wanted more. I wanted something for someone and I don't think it'll happen. Unless we get some sort of sequel? However, a sequel would ruin things I think. I loved how everything else ended but one character deserved more.  

Overall, this was a kickass book. It was dark and creepy, but there was a sprinkle of hope throughout. You can't help but root for this family! They really deserve the sun and more. The ending left me...with complicated emotions. Hate and love and all of it in between.  I highly recommend this book to those looking for a thriller with some paranormal/SCI-FI twists and turns. Oof. A rating? Mmmmm......I've been contemplating for over a day about what I want to rate this.....mmmm.....4 stars. I would give it a 5, BUT I am still very conflicted on my feelings for the ending. 

Saturday, July 30

Saturday Movie Night: Persuasion (2022)

This month we decided to review the new 'Persuasion'. 

Blodeuedd is in blue and I am in purple.

Title:  Persuasion 
Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy
Released: 2022
Rating: PG

Eight years after Anne Elliot was persuaded not to marry a dashing man of humble origins, they meet again. Will she seize her second chance at true love?

Click here for the trailer. 


Someone called it Austen for GenZ, and yes I can see that. I liked it, but it was also super cringe.

Agreed. They for sure added some modern terms and simplified some of the scenes. I liked it, but it was so cringy whenever she spoke directly to the camera and overexplained her feelings. Just act and show us. No need to tell us. 

When she called him her ex, like wtf woman? Or when she spoke of cappuccinos not yet invented. Or when she talked about her hentai dream to a duchess or whatever she was. Like OMG were you raised in a freaking barn?!

Oh! And when she awkwardly bragged about Mary’s hubby wanted to marry her first. I wouldn’t do well in society….but even I know that shouldn’t EVER be brought up in front of guests. 

So embarrassing, I totally get why her father and sister did not like her. Which is wrong! We are supposed to root for Anne, but srsly, she was a looser. Cringy and ugh Anne, just no.

Anne is supposed to be sophisticated and smart and clever. Kinda sad, but sweet. There were times when she was all those things. But then those out-of-character awkward moments. Like I thought it was sweet and funny when she had the jam on her face when playing with the kids. That wasn’t cringy. But the other moments? That is NOT Anne. Sure, I still liked her by the end but dang…I would be embarrassed to have her around. I would tell her flat out, “Please be normal. Don’t be embarrassing tonight.” lol

 Yes! And walking around with that wine bottle all the time, damn Anne, you are an alcoholic. You can be sad, but if she has been drinking for 7 years then she needs help. She is the embarrassing aunt who should not be invited to things.

Maybe she was drunk during those moments? But no one really thought to be like “Hey girl…I get you’re sad you and Wentworth broke up 7-8 years ago now….put the bottle down.” She has a problem and I don’t think that should be the message sent to Gen Z and younger. I wouldn’t play this version in HS.

Like when she just pulled down her dress to pee in the woods, girl, check behind the dang tree. She was not the Anne I love. How Wentworth still loved he is beyond me.

Not sure if they were trying to make her more relatable? Or just adding humor? But none of the other characters were that off track of their normal behaviors so it was just awkwardly done. I might’ve been more okay with it if she didn’t talk to the camera. Like…is she insane? Who is she talking to?

You can make it fun without making it like this. Dunno about you, but I loved Mary! Mary was horrible, but had the best lines. Pathetic and perfect, without being a loser like Anne.

OMG Mary had me laughing. Like her line about how she is an empath. LOLLLL Girl, you are delusional. Or the one when with Louisa and how she stills wants to be invited even though she doesn’t like walking. She was fun. Anne is supposed to be serious and sweet. The humor comes from her siblings and dad and even Mr. Elliot. They are supposed to be comic relief. 

They were great and like they are supposed to be. But what can one expect from this really, I mean Anne sits in her nightdress when Wenthworth comes in and they worry about the jam. And did one of the sisters dance with a footman? It was not the times, not even pretending to be. So I guess Anne can be a loser alcoholic then. Maybe she can go to rehab

I don’t remember the footman, but I remember Anne being in her PJs. I think the creator/writer/director, threw decorum out the window. Anne and other women at that time would’ve rather been dead then been caught in their nighties. Same with the dudes. But yes, this version of Anne was a bummer. What makes me sadder was that there were times she was the PERFECT Anne. The one we all love. It’s like two different writers did different scenes and didn’t talk about it. LOL

Sad. I liked watching it, but if I had to re-watch I will go with the version that brings all the feels, and with a letter that makes me believe in everlasting love.

Same. That was a classic and a Wentworth that I drool over. Like I said on Facebook…I would’ve loved if the Wentworth and Mr. Elliot switched roles. I think Henry Golding would have been better at brooding and making the heart go. But again…I could be biased because I adore that actor more. LOL. 

And I say no, because Golding was perfect as pretty boy Elliot. As Wenthworth he should be more rugged as he spends all his time on a ship.

I think Golding could’ve pulled off rugged ;) But I will say, I applauded the end and what they did with Mr. Elliot. I also liked that Mr. Elliot wasn’t necessarily “evil” or “bad”. He just wanted the title. 

I liked this Mr Elliot. I can’t say more than that :D Go Mr Elliott. Boo Anne. Oh and I hated the Anne is not pretty in this one, ahem, who are you kidding. If you had say Anne has no manners then I could be onboard lol

Team Mr. Elliot! LOL. Never thought I would type or say those words ;) But right??? Anne was BEAUTIFUL. They should’ve had the older sister play her. She was so plain…like how Anne is supposed to be. This Anne was lovely. 

I thought the same, the older sister was the least pretty of them all.

Agreed. And it wasn’t that she was ugly. Just very plain and in the background. She would’ve been the perfect Anne. 

We do seem to feel the same then, except for who should play Elliot ;) You just want Wentworth to be eye-candy too. Now he was rather boring

Hahahaha I am biased because Golding is my favorite and I’ve liked him in other things. 

Oh god, what if they make other new genz versions?! Like could you see Lizzy going around drinking wine while walking around and just, ugh, now I am scared.

Ughhhhh I hope not. Maybe they just tried to make Anne more interesting because I’m sure GenZ think she is boring because she is so nice. At least some of the other gals from JA have related flaws. Like Lizzy has a big mouth and can be super judgey herself. So maybe they’ll leave those alone. This made me want to rewatch the original Persuasion and even the Bridgerton show. Bridgerton walks the line well. It keeps the tone of the times but has enough sprinkle of modern-ness. This tried too hard to blend the lines. 

Bridgerton is good without going crazy like this. You can still change Anne without making her like this, I would not want to meet her.

And yes I wanna watch Persuasion again!!

I have the DVD. I may make my hubby watch it tonight ;) But like I said, I didn’t HATE this film. It had it’s moments but I was really sad how they did Anne dirty. She and Wentworth are some of my favorite characters of all time. 

I used to love PP the most but when I got older I liked Persuasion more. I would NOT have done that after this version.

Same. And I really wanted a newer version, because PP ALWAYS gets a new version every few years. I was so excited, but I guess I gotta stay with the classic. 

Though…I could still do with a new PP, just do not destroy the spirit of Austen. That lady was witty!

For real. I want all the books to get a new movie, but maybe NOT from this team. Poor Anne. 

Not from this team.

The end?

*shakes head* not this team at all. 

The end!

Friday, July 29

Audiobook Review: Off Duty by Sawyer Bennett

Author: Sawyer Bennett
Narrator: Charlotte North, Matthew Holland
Title: Off Duty
(Off #5.6)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Short Story, Novella
Format: Audiobook
Published: June 16th 2015
Where I got It: Audible

As a member of the New York Fire Department, single father Tim Davis is about as tough as they come. But underneath the muscles and tattoos, he still nurses a bruised heart handed to him courtesy of his first love. While on vacation with his son in New Orleans, Tim runs into the very woman that taught him about love before pulling it all away.

Holly Reynolds is rebuilding her life as an orthopedic doctor, far away from her home in New York City and her controlling father… the man responsible for tearing her and Tim apart. While she knows the hurt she caused Tim could never be forgiven, she can’t help the overwhelming feelings she still has for her first and deepest love.

Truths are revealed as lies are exposed.

Two people come back together again to explore the fragile emotional bonds that still keep them tethered, even as their passion ignites hotter than any fire Tim has ever had to put out before.

Stumbled upon this one while casually searching in Audible. I like firemen and second chances, so why not ;) 

Here we follow Holly and Tim. Holly is rebuilding her life far away from her home in New York and her father. Her father is responsible for tearing her away from her first love, Tim, years ago. She can't forgive her father and she can't forgive herself for the hurt she gave. Tim is now a single father and a member of the NY Fire Department. He has never really gotten over his first love, but time goes on, right? While on vacation in New Orleans with his kid, he runs into Holly. Truths are revealed and hurts are mended. 

This is technically book #5.6...but it could read as a standalone. I'm sure some of the characters mentioned are couples from previous books, but you don't need to know them. I feel like Tim was a side character that just got a story, which is fine with me. 

I liked Tim and I liked Holly. They deserved this second chance. Her dad was a racist a-hole back in the day. 

Now...I do wish this had been a full-length novel or even a few more pages would've been nice. There are such deep hurts between Tim and Holly. And hell, between Holly and her family. Everything was solved so easily and quickly. It didn't feel realistic to me. They talked for like one chapter and then BOOM back in each other's beds and lives. Too quick for all the deep pain. I can forgive Tim and Holly for moving on and forgiving each other so quickly especially after they talked over dinner. But the scene with Holly, Tim, and the dad? Nope. That dad has a lot of things to do to get that forgiveness. 

Tim was treated like crap and deserved to be wined and dined by Holly and the dad. 

This needed more pages and more time. 

The narrators did a good job. They did all the voices well. 

In the end, I did enjoy this, but it needed more. The solutions were too easy and too quick. Tim deserved more. 2 stars from me. 

- #34 for Audiobook challenge

Thursday, July 28

Audiobook Review: To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn

Author: Julia Quinn
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor
Title: To Sir Phillip, With Love
(Bridgertons #5)
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Audiobook
Published: July 1st 2003
Where I got It: Library 

Sir Phillip knew from his correspondence with his dead wife's distant cousin that Eloise Bridgerton was a spinster, and so he'd proposed, figuring that she'd be homely and unassuming, and more than a little desperate for an offer of marriage. Except . . . she wasn't. The beautiful woman on his doorstep was anything but quiet, and when she stopped talking long enough to close her mouth, all he wanted to do was kiss her...

Eloise Bridgerton couldn't marry a man she had never met! But then she started thinking... and wondering... and before she knew it, she was in a hired carriage in the middle of the night, on her way to meet the man she hoped might be her perfect match. Except... he wasn't. Her perfect husband wouldn't be so moody and ill-mannered. And he certainly should have mentioned that he had two young - and decidedly unruly - children, as much in need of a mother as Phillip is in need of a wife.

I've been nervous about this one. People seem to hate it or love it. It's divided for sure on GR. Finally decided to get it over with and check it out. Pulling a bandage, eh?

Here we have Eloise and Phillip. Eloise never thought she would get married. Did she even want to? Until Phillip. They have been corresponding for nearly a year after the death of Phillip's wife. She seems like the perfect person to marry and help raise his unruly twins. He suggests this and offers for her to come over (with proper chaperoning of course). Without much of a thought or even a reply, she goes straight to his estate and surprises him. They realize they really don't know each other and decide to get to know each other before even thinking about marriage. 

Oh, Eloise. She is so smart but so daft at the same time. LOL. She didn't think her family would find out she just left to some dude's place without a chaperone??? Silly girl. But that is the Eloise-way. I ended up really liking her. I was neutral throughout the other books. Yes, she is ALWAYS talking and is bossy and kinda selfish. BUT I think she has matured in some ways and she really is a good person at the end of the day. 

I feel bad for Phillip. He really doesn't process emotion well and he went through a lot with his previous wife and his abusive father. She for sure had depression and hated her life. He tried, but he couldn't make her happy. He tries to be a good father, but he sucks at it. He is so scared of being like his abusive father that he stays away especially when the kids make him angry. He isn't very social and doesn't do well in social situations. Such an awkward fella. He is literally obsessed with his garden. It is his happy place. He could spend all day outside. He reminds me of someone I know who has Asperger's syndrome. He was such an enduring character when I made that connection. Sure, there were times he exhausted me and I wanted to give him a little shake, but I liked him overall. 

I thought he and Eloise were simply perfect for each other! And she was perfect for the kids who needed extra love. Oh boy. Did they find the extra love with this Bridgerton family!

I think what I liked about this one was how open they were with each other. They talked a LOT. They really and truly got to know about each other and about the kids even after they married. There was one scene that I thought was a tad overdramatic on Phillip's side. Like dude...chill. But they worked through it. 

Awwwww the ending was adorable. Especially the epilogues. So cute. 

The narrator was fantastic. I hope she does the rest of the books because her voices are always on point. 

In the end, I ended up really liking this one. I went in really, really worried because there is a huge division. Some love it. Some hate it. I ended up really loving it. A couple little issues like that one overdramatic scene, but it made me appreciate Eloise more and I loved Phillip. I can't wait for how they do this in the show. 4 stars on my end. 

- #33 for Audiobook challenge

Wednesday, July 27

Audiobook Review: Wild Wicked Scot by Julia London

Author: Julia London
Narrator: Derek Perkins
Title: Wild Wicked Scot
(Highland Grooms #1)
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Audiobook
Published: December 27th 2016
Where I got It: Library 

Born into riches and groomed in English luxury, Margot Armstrong didn't belong in a Scottish chieftain's devil-may-care world. Three years ago she fled their marriage of convenience and hasn't looked back—except to relive the moments spent in wild, rugged Arran McKenzie's passionate embrace. But as their respective countries' fragile unity threatens to unravel, Margot must return to her husband to uncover his role in the treachery before her family can be accused of it.

Red-haired, green-eyed Margot was Arran's beautiful bride. Her loss has haunted him, but her return threatens everything he has gained. As the Highland mists carry whispers of an English plot to seize McKenzie territory, he must outmaneuver her in games of espionage…and seduction. But even as their secrets tangle together, there's nothing to prevent love from capturing them both and leading them straight into danger.

Seen this at my library and it fits one of my reading challenges. Plus I have read other books by this author and have liked them. So perfect!

Here we follow Margot and Arran. They were forced to marry. There was passion and lust, but they were so miserable. Margot ran off and he didn't stop her. Three years go by and Margot is forced to go back to her husband to uncover if he is a traitor to England. Margot has haunted Arran's mind and heart but when she returns he is suspicious. As their secrets tangle together, they may find love and it may lead them straight into danger. 

I really enjoyed this. It is pretty much a second chance romance. They married but separated. She takes off and he doesn't go after her. Their pride and hurt hearts kept them apart. She comes back. She is supposed to spy on him and he doesn't trust her. I loved it! They had so much work to do. It was so complex and I had no idea how they would get their HEA. Lots of hurt feelings and Margot is stuck between being honest and figuring out if he is going to betray England or not. SO good. 

The format was fun. We start off with Margot coming back after she had left three years ago. We get to see flashbacks from their first meeting, short engagement, and four months of their marriage. 

Poor Margot and poor Arran. They were both hurt and both in the wrong. They were too immature to get married. Shame on Margot's father and brother. Grrr! Evil men.

But I liked Margot and Arran. They were so complex and so perfect for each other even though they didn't know it. 

My only issue was the resolution of the big external drama at the end. It seemed too clean and too quick. We needed to see more. I don't want to say much, but it was such a build-up and it just sort of ended. 

The narrator was good. I liked his voices. Jumping between two different accents and genders was pretty flawless. 

In the end, I really liked this. I loved watching Margot and Arran find their way. It was a nice change of pace for a historical romance. The ending resolution was a hair too clean for my liking. I felt it needed more. I'll give this 4 stars overall. It was so good even with the ending being too convenient. 

- #32 for Audiobook challenge
- #22 for Romance Reading Challenge - "Scot" in title

Tuesday, July 26

Blodeuedd's Tuesday Review: A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare


Format: 356 pages, Mass Market Paperback

Published: March 27, 2012 by Avon

Series: Spindle Cove (#2)

Historical romance /own

Not exactly my favorite Dare book. I did finish because it was easy and light, but, yes I felt no romance. It was more like bam wham thank you mam. They fancied each other and got dirty. And they had disliked each other the day before. AND they only spent this week together. I just want a bit of romance you know.

Minerva liked rocks. Colin could not sleep without a good fu*k. She was the would be spinster. He needed to marry. Sure I could see them together at the end, but that might have been the smexy chemistry between them.

I did like him making up stories about who they were while travelling, but I could have gone for a bit more actual romance to make me feel something.

Minerva Highwood, one of Spindle Cove's confirmed spinsters, needs to be in Scotland.

Colin Sandhurst, Lord Payne, a rake of the first order, needs to be... anywhere but Spindle Cove.

These unlikely partners have one week to

• fake an elopement

• convince family and friends they're in "love"

• outrun armed robbers

• survive their worst nightmares

• travel four hundred miles without killing each other

All while sharing a very small carriage by day and an even smaller bed by night.

What they don't have time for is their growing attraction. Much less wild passion. And heaven forbid they spend precious hours baring their hearts and souls.

Suddenly one week seems like exactly enough time to find a world of trouble. And maybe... just maybe... love.

Monday, July 25

Cover Reveal - Shoot the Horses First: A Collection of Histories by Leah Angstman

Shoot the Horses First: A Collection of Histories by Leah Angstman

Publication Date: February 28, 2023
Kernpunkt Press
Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audiobook; 238 pages

Genre: Literary / Historical / Short Stories

***Finalist for the Shorts Award for Americana Fiction***

Through a historian’s lens and folkloric storytelling, the pieces in SHOOT THE HORSES FIRST revel in the nuances, brutality, mythology, and tiny victories of our historical past. A launderer takes us inside the linens of the richest families in early Baltimore. A child on the Orphan Train has his teeth inspected like a horse. Civil War soldiers experience PTSD. While one woman lands on an island of the Wampanoag tribe, a woman 200 years later finds Apache in a harsh frontier. Children survive yellow fever, the desert heat, and mistaken identities; men survive severed fingers, untested medicines, and wives with obsessive compulsive disorders. Frederick Douglass’ grandson plays violin at the World’s Fair on Colored American Day, a woman with disabilities is kept hidden away like she doesn’t exist, and a botanist is denied her place in a science journal because she is female. Themes of place, war, mental illness, identity, disability, feminism, and unyielding optimism throughout harrowing desperation resurface in this collection of stories that takes us back to time immemorial, yet feels so close, and all too familiar.

Available for Pre-Order


“I’m astonished by the historical breadth in this collection of stories and by the sensibility that unites them. It’s a thrill to be dropped, so vividly, into such a wide variety of settings and periods—and even more of a thrill to discover the strong new voice of Leah Angstman. Read it!”

“In SHOOT THE HORSES FIRST, Leah Angstman blasts readers from the Twitterfied nowscape into the manifest past—to an America connected by the burgeoning railroad and shattered by civil war. As inventive and complex as the era itself, these sixteen fictions of nineteenth-century friction contain surprises on every page. Whether it’s an impromptu snowball fight on a battlefield during a ceasefire or a wayward orphan finding hope at the end of the line, Angstman astonishes us with complicated characters and crystal-clear prose. She is the literary heir to Shelby Foote, Willa Cather, and E. L. Doctorow. Get off the internet and read this book!”

“Rudyard Kipling said, ‘If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.’ Nothing demonstrates the wisdom of that better than SHOOT THE HORSES FIRST by Leah Angstman. This is an immersive, expansive, and unforgettable collection of fictional histories. Drawn from various points in America’s past and clearly well researched, these stories are harrowing and hopeful by turns. All through, there are unexpected kindnesses and betrayals and acts of heroism and transformation. Characters so deeply wrought they seem to leap off the page. Soaring and vast and lyrical, this book is a must-read.” —Kathy Fish, author of TOGETHER WE CAN BURY IT, RIFT, and WILD LIFE

“Angstman’s work is a joy to read. These characters see their worlds in the way that we see ours: naturally, and independent of the vastness of time in which life eventually situates itself in memory. Each one of these stories breathes troubling, beautiful life into the history that inspires it. The exhaustive research that must have gone into this collection lives in an easy harmony with the stories it undergirds, and it’s Angstman’s chief achievement here to strike that balance with poise and grace. Fear, love, heartache, and wonderment: it’s all right here, between both worlds.” —Schuler Benson, author of THE POOR MAN’S GUIDE TO AN AFFORDABLE, PAINLESS SUICIDE

“SHOOT THE HORSES FIRST puts the ‘story’ in history. With scholarly rigor and the soul of a bard, Leah Angstman weaves tales of defiance and resilience that bring the past to life and show us what endures.” —Jennifer Wortman, author of THIS. THIS. THIS. IS. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE

About the Author

Leah Angstman is also the author of the historical novel of seventeenth-century New England, Out Front the Following Sea, available now from Regal House, and the novel of the French Revolution, Falcon in the Dive, forthcoming from Regal House in spring 2024. She serves as the executive editor for Alternating Current Press and The Coil magazine and is a founding Quartermaster member of the American Battlefield Trust. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including Publishers Weekly, Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Nashville Review. She’s recently been a finalist for the Laramie Book Award, Chaucer Book Award, Eric Hoffer Book Award, National Indie Excellence Award, Da Vinci Eye Award, Clue Book Award, Richard Snyder Memorial Prize, Cowles Book Prize, and Able Muse Book Award; a semifinalist for the Goethe Book Award; and longlisted for the Hillary Gravendyk Prize. This is her first collection of short stories.

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July 25th Hosts

Books Blog
Coffee and Ink
McCombs on Main
Older & Smarter
Carole's Ramblings
Reading is My Remedy
CelticLady's Reviews
Dive Into a Good Book
The Book Junkie Reads
Bonnie Reads and Writes
Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

July 26th Hosts

Novels Alive
A Darn Good Read
Sadie's Spotlight
My Reading Getaway
Passages to the Past
Booking With Janelle
Cover Lover Book Review


Enter to win an ARC of Shoot the Horses First & horsey prize pack!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on July 26th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Shoot the Horses First Cover Reveal

Saturday, July 23

Movie Review: The Bob's Burgers Movie (2022)

The Bob's Burgers Movie
Length:  1h 42m
Released: 2022
Genre:  Action, Adventure, Comedy
Rating: PG-13
Where I Got It: Hulu

The Belchers try to save the restaurant from closing as a sinkhole forms in front of it, while the kids try to solve a mystery that could save their family's restaurant.

Click here for the trailer

Love the TV show! I wanted to go to the theater to watch this but it was during my wedding week/weekend. Ran out of time and decided to wait for it to stream. 

The Belchers and their restaurant are close to falling apart when a sinkhole forms in front of it. The kids want to help but trying to solve a mystery that could either save them...or kill them. 

 This was fun. I loved getting nearly 2 hours with this family and these characters. We got longer songs and more time to get to know about them. 

I did think the animation was a little off. Sure, they have more money and wanted to have great animation...but it felt a little off for me. It seemed to good. 

Other than that, I had zero issues. I loved the music. I loved the plots. I loved seeing some character growth, especially for Louise who is my favorite of the family. We get to learn the history behind her famous pink ears. It melted my little heart. 

In the end, if you like the'll like the movie. It had some serious parts, but it was still funny. We get more music and more time with our characters. I did think the animation was a little off, but other than that I liked this movie. I actually have already re-watched it twice now. So much fun. 4 stars from me. 

Friday, July 22

2-in-1 Short Story Reviews: Beat of Temptation & Stroke of Enticement by Nalini Singh

Author: Nalini Singh
Title: Beat of Temptation
(Psy-Changeling #0.5)
Genre: PNR, Short Story, UF, Sci FI, Novella
Format: ebook
Pages: 79
Published: March 5th 2013
Where I Got It: Library

Innocent Tamsyn has always had a place in her heart for Nathan, a blooded DarkRiver sentinel. But is she ready for the fierce demands of the mating bond?

Found these short stories at the library so I backed-tracked before moving forward. This one is .5. The events take place a few years before book 1. 

Tamsyn and Nathan are meant to be. They are mates, but Nathan wants her to enjoy her youth before they complete the mating bonds. That is not what Tamsyn wants, but is she ready for the fierce demands of the mating bond? Can she stand and just wait on Nathan's time table?

I wanted to smack the crap out of Nathan. YES, I get him wanting to wait until she was an adult. They first met when she was 15 and he was 20's (or something like that) and they realized they are mates, but she is a baby. Yes, yes. I am happy he wanted her to be an adult before anything could happen. Good on him. BUUUUT the moment she turned 18...and then 19...she was ready but he was all "Nooooo I don't want to tie you down yet. Be freeeeeeee first!!!" Which.... I get I understand he had a fear because his parents were youths when they mated and they became miserable. But if Tamsyn is ready and you feel ready...then you are ready. Gah dumb men. 

Even though I enjoyed this a lot, I was just so annoyed. Hell...the rest of the pack was all "DUDE JUST COMPLETE THE MATING BOND ALREADY IDIOT!" And then he gets all surprised she has enough and doesn't feel wanted and leaves?????

But yes. I enjoyed it even though Nathan was a dumb-dumb. I loved seeing them as a young couple. I loved seeing some of my beloved folks as youths. Teenage Lucas was adorable!

In the end, this was fun but I was mad at Nathan for 90% of the story. Sighs. Men are dumb and selfish sometimes. But yes, if you love the series I recommend back-tracking and checking this one out. 3 stars from me. 

Author: Nalini Singh
Title: Stroke of Enticement
(Psy-Changeling #3.5)
Genre: PNR, Short Story, UF, Sci FI, Novella
Format: ebook
Pages: 75
Published:  2008
Where I Got It: Library

In Stroke of Enticement , Annie a wary young teacher, skeptical about love, arouses the man—and the animal—in an aggressive leopard changeling who must prove his affections are true.

Found these short stories at the library so I backed-tracked before moving forward. This one is 3.5.

Here we have Annie who is a human teacher who has come to the area to teach the young kids. She has to deal with different packs and different races. She is young, but she is skeptical about love because of her parents. In strides Zach Quinn. He realizes that they are meant for each other. She is his mate, but he wants to court her and prove his affections are true and forever. 

Squeeee I adored Zach Quinn!!!! He was perfect for Annie. I loved how he realized he needed to move slow-ish for Annie. He is the sweetest! 

Yes, they start dating pretty quickly, but Zach doesn't want her to get scared of the mating bond and that if done right they will be together forever. She is a commitment-phobe and doesn't want her heart broken.

Loved this one so much. I loved seeing them all celebrate Xmas. I wish this had been a full novel. I love them. 

In the end, you can read this without the others. I don't recall hearing about Zach and Annie in the I'll have to keep my eyes out for their names. Cute couple. They were perfect for each other! 4 stars from me. Not 5 because I felt like we needed more time with them. They deserved a full book darnit!!!!! LOL I could be biased though.... 

Thursday, July 21

Book Review: Highland Hellion by Mary Wine

Author: Mary Wine
Title: Highland Hellion
(Highland Weddings #3)
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: ebook
Pages: 320 
Published:  June 6th 2017
Where I Got It: Borrowed from library


Illegitimate daughter of an English earl… Abducted to Scotland at age 14… No family, no reputation… No rules


Heir to an honorable Highland laird… Can’t believe how well tomboy Kate can fight… About to learn how much of a woman she really is

Scotland is seething with plots, the vengeful Gordons are spoiling for a fight, and the neighboring clans are at each other’s throats. All it takes is a passionate hellion with a penchant for reckless adventure to ignite the Highlands once more.

Yayy book 3!!

Here we follow Katherine and Rolfe. It has been a few years since the last book ended. Katherine is the illegitimate daughter of an English earl. She was technically abducted by Marcus and taken to Scotland when she was 14, but in reality, Marcus saved her and gave her freedom. Rolfe is the heir to an honorable Highland laird. Scotland is seething with plots, the Gordons are spoiling for a fight, and the neighboring clans are at each other's throats. Perhaps a reckless adventure from Katherine the Hellion can save her clan and the others. 

This does work as a standalone, but I would suggest at least reading book 2. There is some backstory I think would be helpful in understanding Marcus and Katherine. Oh! And you will only truly appreciate and love Brenda Grant if you read at least book 2. That poor thing deserves the world!!

Katherine was allowed to learn how to fight because Marcus was worried about her being English and people may want to hurt her or even use her as a pawn. However, he may have given her too much freedom because she does get herself in some trouble. Yes, she was doing the right thing but thank goodness Rolfe feels indebted to her and saves her butt. 

Rolfe is a good egg. Not sure how that happened because his father is an asshat and selfish and mean. Loved Rolfe. He is the perfect match for Katherine and she to him. They are perfect for each other but it does take a minute for them to see it and not just think it is lust. 

I was so nervous for our folks. I like them all and want them happy. There are some new faces so we shall what happens in the book. I want to see Brenda find love. I want her cousin to find love. I also want Rolfe's mentor to find love or some sort of happiness. He is a wise and kind man. He is the only reason why Rolfe isn't like his father. 

The last two I did the audio version of. This time I did the ebook (mainly because the audio was not available at my library...only the ebook). It worked well even though I did sort of miss the narrator's voice sometimes. But this did well without someone narrating so you can't go wrong. 

Now...I did struggle for a small chunk of the book. The beginning started off so great, but then it seemed to come to a screeching halt for a few chapters. I just wanted things to go but the plot seemed to be stuck in the mud. Once a certain event happened, then we were back off to the races and I couldn't put it down. 

I hope we see more of them in the next book. I want to see Katherine and Rolfe stand up more against his father and the others who hate her. There are a lot of loose ends with that household that need tying up. 

There is also a huge cliffhanger from some of our characters. Hopefully, we get to see some more resolutions. 

In the end, I enjoyed this. I loved watching Rolfe and Katherine find each other. Save each other. And finally, find love. It took a while for them to get past the lust stage and actually trust each other. There was one big lull, but once you get past that you won't be able to put it down. There are some loose ends I hope get tied up in book 4. But yes, this was good and I enjoyed it. I'll give this 3 stars. 

Wednesday, July 20

Audiobook Review: The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick

Author: Elizabeth Chadwick
Narrator: Christopher Scott
Title: The Scarlet Lion
(William Marshal #3)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Published: December 7th 2006
Where I got It: My shelf (audible) 

Following early beginnings as a knight in the English royal household and a champion of the tourneys, William Marshal's prowess and loyalty have been rewarded by the hand in marriage of Isabelle de Clare, heiress to great estates in England, Normandy and Ireland. Now a powerful magnate, William has weathered the difficult years of King Richard's absence on crusade and is currently serving him on campaign in Normandy while Isabelle governs their estates. All the stability William and Isabelle have enjoyed with their young and growing family comes crashing down as Richard dies and his brother John becomes King. Rebellion is stirring throughout the Angevin domains and although John has created William Earl of Pembroke, the friction between the two men leads William and Isabelle to distance themselves in Ireland. The situation escalates, with John holding their sons as hostages and seizing their English lands. The conflict between remaining loyal and rebelling over injustices committed, threatens to tear apart William and Isabelle's marriage and their family.

Literally been wanting to read this for yearsssssssssss. Thanks to the TBR pile challenge, I decided to get my hands on a copy of this and read it. 

Years have passed and all the stability William and his wife, Isabelle, have enjoyed with their young family comes crashing down. Richard is dead and John has become King. Rebellion is stirring throughout the Angevin domains. The friction between the new King and William leads William and Isabelle to distance themselves by going to their lands in Ireland. The situation further escalates when John holds their sons as hostages and seizes their English lands. This conflict between remaining loyal and rebelling over the injustices committed threatens to tear William's family apart. 

This can be read as a stand-alone. I read book 2 years ago so I barely remember what happened there and I never read book 1. Things you need to know will be told/explained to the reader so it's okay not to backtrack to book 1 or 2.

I do remember loving William and Isabelle. They are an adorable couple and they fit each other so well. However, I did want to kick William once in a while. I get WHY he wants to be loyal to the throne and fight through the issues and find common ground...but John is a right old bastard. No Richard by ANY means. So I get young Will's annoyance with his father. 

Sobbbbbs I didn't want this to end. I hated seeing William get old. I hated seeing others get old too and die like Queen Eleanor!!! So dang sad. It made me want to re-read book 2 when William was a super youth and Eleanor was in her prime. I do want to read book 1 which is about John FitzGilbert who is William's dad. 

This had politics, feels, love, war, and death. It is the ending chapter for William, but it isn't the end of the story. There are other stories to be told. I do want to read them, but it made me cry saying goodbye to William. He was truly the greatest knight. Yes, yes, I am being dramatic, but he was such a fun character to watch grow from a boy to an old man. I would love to see a movie based on him. I think the BBC has a documentary on him, but I think the man deserves his own movie. C'MON NETFLIX OR HULU!!!!!

Anyways...this was really good. I do think a couple parts dragged a bit. We just kept waiting and waiting for the other shoe to drop. There were a couple of lulls that seemed to slow down the plot a bit. 

The narrator was pretty good. Loved his male voices. His female voices were okay.

In the end, I recommend reading book 2 but it is not necessary story-wise. I do think you will appreciate all William did for the throne and understand him better when you read book 2 first. Yours to do. I really enjoyed this. It made me cry at the end, but I am curious to see what happens next for this family.  There are a couple of lulls that slowed down the plot a hair. I'll give this 4 stars overall. 

- #31 for Audiobook challenge
- TBR Reading Challenge (#5)