Monday, October 31

B's Monday Review: Mr. Hotshot CEO by Jackie Lau


Narrated by: David Lee Huynh, Vivienne Moon Kells

Series: Kwan Sisters Series, Book 2

Length: 6 hrs and 54 mins

Release date: 10-18-22

Publisher: Tantor Audio

Contemporary romance / to review

This one was different. A romance, but with a big personal hurdle to get through. And one that was not magically solved by a p**n.

Courtney gets seriously depressed every 5th year, and in between that she is not free either. It is always there in some form, but she has learned to embrace everything good in life. Nothing better than really loving that latte you get every day.

Julien is a workaholic that will surely get a heart attack too soon if he keeps it up.

His family orders him to take a vacation and this is how he meets Courtney. He pays her to learn him to have fun. And of course they will fall in love. But he does not know about her depression, and she is not looking for something. Something that might fall apart and make her even more depressed. So depressed that it will push her over the edge.

Yes it dealt with some serious things and I liked that. Life and love is not always easy, but it is a romance, so they will make it work. But no one is magically cured. It does not work like that.

Two narrators that did a good job working together. I like it when they do it like that, you really get into their heads

As CEO of Fong Investments, I’m a busy man. In fact, my family claims I’m an obsessive workaholic, and when they force me to take two weeks off, I have no idea what to do with myself.

While brooding over an espresso, I meet Courtney Kwan, a biomedical researcher who savors the little things in life. And, suddenly, an idea strikes me—I will pay this woman to teach me how to enjoy my vacation from work.

Soon, I find myself doing crazy things like baking cookies, reading for pleasure, buying a phallic cactus, and falling in love. But Courtney is dealing with some serious issues of her own, and I fear that when I return to work, I won’t be able to give her what she needs, and I’ll lose her forever…

Sunday, October 30

Audiobook Review: What Moves the Dead by T Kingfisher

Author: T. Kingfisher
Narrator: Avi Roque
Title: What Moves the Dead
Genre: Historical Fiction, Horror, Fantasy, Novella, Retellings
Format: Audiobook
Published: July 12, 2022
Where I got It: Borrowed from library

When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania.

What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves.

Aided by a redoubtable British mycologist and a baffled American doctor, Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all.

I've had my eye on this one for a little bit so when I saw the audiobook available at the library I swooped in. A perfect book for the Spooky season. It is a retelling of one of my favorite Poe shorts. 

Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline is dying, they race to be with Madeline. She is one of the last of the Usher line along with her brother. What Alex finds at the Usher home is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife. The lake is dark and pulsing. Madeline is sleepwalking and speaks strange voices at night while her brother, Roderick, is consumed with nerves. With the help of a British mycologist and an American doctor, Alex must try and unravel the secrets of the House of Usher. 

Creepy, creepy, creepy. Did I mention creepy? If you like a creepy read I recommend this. Poor Alex. Alex is a great friend for sure. Being summoned by Madeline and arriving to such a creepy house. The house is creepy....Madeline and Roderick look like corpses. If I was Alex I would've gotten on my horse, say 'Feel better', and get the heck out of dodge. 

What a great cast we were given. The original only had three people, but here Alex has some aid. I loved Miss Potter. She is the brains and I only want good things for her.

This wasn't only just creepy, but we had some humor....which was nice. Alex has mixed feelings about Americans and even the British. So we get some little jabs and it made me smile.

Okay...those hares!? Ugh!!! Gah. We do have a couple of scenes that might be a touch gross, BUT it is necessary for the plot. I am an animal lover, but I was shouting for them to just burn the whole forest to the ground. *shudders* Burn the whole town and house too while you are at it. 

The narrator was fantastic. Fit Alex quite well. The narrator really brought the characters and creepy world alive. 

Ooo! Nearly forgot to mention the cover. *chef's kiss* Perfection. It really gives you the creeps but makes you want to read it. That is what caught my eye first.

In the end, this deserves 5 stars. This was a great retelling and I think Poe would've enjoyed it. I had zero issues with this. It was perfect. It had the right amount of thriller, comedy, horror, and nostalgia for the classic. Even if you struggle with horrors...this was just enough that you won't have nightmares. Perfect for the Spooky season! 

- #48 for Audiobook challenge

Saturday, October 29

Movie Review: Frozen 2 (2019)

Frozen II
Length:  1h 43m
Released: 2019
Genre:  Comedy, Animation, Adventure, Family, & Fantasy
Rating: PG
Where I Got It: Disney+

Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven leave Arendelle to travel to an ancient, autumn-bound forest of an enchanted land. They set out to find the origin of Elsa's powers in order to save their kingdom.

Click here for the trailer

Finally got myself to sit down and watch this. I adore the first one and I get weird when it comes to some sequels. I had thought the first movie was good enough, BUT here we are. 

Anna, Elsa, and the gang have to leave Arendelle to travel to an ancient and enchanted land in order to save their homes. They will find the origin of Elsa's powers and learn much more than they expected. 

Okay...I apologize for not watching this sooner because I did enjoy it. The story was really good and I was on the edge of my seat. I had no idea how they were going to fix everything. Plus I had to know the mystery of the voice and Elsa's powers. 

While the story was really, really good...the songs were just okay. Not as catch-y or as memorable as the songs from the first film. Not saying I didn't like these ones...just not as good. 

A part of me really does want a third movie. I feel like there are some more stories to tell with the ending they left us with. They for gave themselves an opening if they wanted to tell us more. 

I really want to see the wedding darnit! 

Overall, I enjoyed this. A great storyline and some good songs. The first one will always be the best I feel, but this was a close second. I'll give this 4 stars. 

Friday, October 28

Book Review: Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich

Author: Louise Erdrich
Title: Love Medicine
Series: Love Medicine #1
Genre: Historical Fiction, Classic, Short Stories, Fantasy
Format: ebook
Pages: 367
Published: January 1, 1984
Where I Got It: My shelf (Amazon)

Set on and around a North Dakota Ojibwe reservation, Love Medicine is the epic story about the intertwined fates of two families: the Kashpaws and the Lamartines.

With astonishing virtuosity, each chapter draws on a range of voices to limn its tales. Black humor mingles with magic, injustice bleeds into betrayal, and through it all, bonds of love and family marry the elements into a tightly woven whole that pulses with the drama of life.

Filled with humor, magic, injustice and betrayal, Erdrich blends family love and loyalty in a stunning work of dramatic fiction.

Been meaning to read this for a long, long time. I couldn't find any paper version of this at any of my local stores BUT I wanted to read this and I gave up for a long while. A little while ago this was for sale as an ebook on I grabbed it and then decided to make my book club read this with me. 

The Kashpaws and Lamartines are two families that seem to have intertwined fates. A mixture of some dark humor...magic....injustice....betrayal....the bonds of family will continue on. 

I wish I had checked out this ebook that I bought because the formatting is all wrong and I couldn't return it so I just pushed through. It was so hard to read because of this. I am really upset that the ebook did me dirty like this.

The beginning was rough for me for a couple of reasons. 1) The formatting made it SO hard to read 2) I was really confused on who was who and what was really going on. I feel like we just got dropped into this world. Maybe if the formatting was right there would've been clearly defined chapters with "Kasphaws" or "Lamartine" or whoever is narrating. What made it was that it was jumping around SO much. I think we even were jumping to different times WHICH maybe if the formatting was would've made sense. 

Once I got used to the formatting and found my footing, I enjoyed this immensely. This was really profound and it really hit me hard. Especially the one funeral scene. I think I even shared the quote on Facebook. This author really does know how to get the heart and pull your emotions. 

I need to find a paper version or a better ebook version. I feel like I missed a lot and I can't necessarily blame the author. Please avoid this version. I should've read the reviews....

But yes...what I could decipher and understand...I enjoyed. The ending was much better and it was SO impactful. I'll have to give this 2 stars for now. Maybe someday I'll find an actual version that works well and give it a second chance/re-read. 

- TBR Reading Challenge (#8)

Wednesday, October 26

Audiobook Review: The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

Author: Edgar Allan Poe
Narrator: Geraint Wyn Davies
Title: The Fall of the House of Usher
Genre: Classics, Short stories, horror, Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Published: September 1, 1839 (Audio was released 2004)
Where I got It: Audible

Terrible events that befall the last remaining members of the once-illustrious Usher clan before it is -- quite literally -- rent asunder.

I picked up a book that is a retelling of this I thought it would be appropriate to give this a re-read PLUS I found this as an audio on Audible. 

The House of Usher is on its last legs. All that remains are a sister and brother. Both of whom seem to be cracking and sick. 

This is such a great and spooky story by Poe. Top 3 of my favorites. It starts off slow and normal, but then things get sad....then scary....

The narrator was perfect. Loved his voices for our characters and the tone was perfect. Really added another layer of creepy and scary. The narrator actually gave me goosebumps by the end. 

Always a lot of fun reading this, especially in the Spooky Season. I recommend this audio version if you don't want to read it. For sure worth it 

5 stars. 

- #47 for Audiobook challenge

Tuesday, October 25

Blodeuedd's Tuesday Review: Partners in Crime by Alisha Rai

Narrated by: Soneela Nankani, Shahjehan Khan

Length: 10 hrs and 1 min

Release date: 10-18-22

Publisher: HarperAudio

Romance / to review

I do like a matchmaking book, well I should not call this that, but stay with me. Mira is tired of bad matches. And then she will come across that first match, that perfect match, whom she left. Mira! 

I thought it would be a cute contemporary romance, but, yeah no. Mira gets kidnapped, together with her ex. Suddenly the book changes tone. An accountant and a lawyer on the run. Who to trust. And what do they want with Mira? What was her no good dad up to?

And then I understand why she left Naveen, even though she loved him and they were perfect. Because her family was quite the something else.

It is non stop action, and running, heists and madness. At the end they have a chance to catch their breath and realise they are meant to be. But yes not a lot of romance, but then they were always meant to be.

Good fun story.

Great narrators. I really like Soneela's voice,  I have listened to her before and she is always good. Khan who did Naveen's voice is new to me and they worked well together.

Mira Patel’s got a solid accounting career, good friends, and a whole lot of distance between her and her dysfunctional family. All that’s missing is a stable romantic relationship. Armed with a spreadsheet and professional help, she sets out to find her partner in only legal activities, but much to her matchmaker’s dismay, no one is quite right.

Including Naveen Desai, the very first match she unceremoniously rejected. Lately Naveen’s been too focused on keeping his sick grandfather’s law firm afloat to think about love, and he’s stunned when Mira walks back into his life to settle her aunt’s affairs. He’s determined to keep things professional…though it’s impossible not to be intrigued by all of the secrets piling up around Mira. If getting back together with an ex is a bad idea, getting kidnapped with one is even worse.

Suddenly, Naveen and Mira find themselves in a mad dash through Las Vegas to escape jewel thieves, evade crime bosses, and follow the clues to untangle the mess her family left behind. As her past comes back to haunt her, Mira despairs of ever finding someone who might understand her…but maybe, over the course of one wild night, she’ll find that he’s right by her side.

Monday, October 24

Audiobook Review: Getting Down by Helena Hunting

Author: Helena Hunting
Narrator: Muffy Newton
Title: Getting Down
Series: Shacking Up #1.5
Genre: Novella, Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit, & short story
Format: Audiobook
Published: April 3, 2018
Where I got It: Borrowed from library

Ruby Scott's favorite holiday is here, all she needs is a moderately good excuse to throw a party. With the help of her best friend Amalie--and Amalie's fiance's budget--the two of them throw a Halloween-inspired fundraiser. But no event goes off without a couple hitches...

Another one I found when looking for some Halloween romances. I didn't realize this was part of a series until I was nearly done reading this. Oh well. 

Here we have Ruby and Amalie. Halloween is Ruby's favorite holiday and when given a moderately good excuse to throw a party....she will. With her the help of her best friend and her best friend's fiancĂ©'s budget....the two of them will throw a Halloween-inspired fundraiser that will always be remembered. 

Yeaaa I didn't realize this was 1.5 in a series until halfway through. It does okay as a standalone. Some references, but the author does a good job catching you up on how Ruby met her boo and how Amalie got wrapped up with that other dude. 

Poor Amalie...her fiancĂ© stinks. He is too prim and proper. I wish I could say at least he is nice and treats Amalie okay...but he is controlling and tries to damper her spirit and make her wear turtlenecks. Okay not precisely turtlenecks...but god forbid she wears short shorts. He is a poop and I can't wait for her to shake him off and find someone who she really can be herself with. I believe that will be book 2. 

There are a lot of smexy scenes here...bordering on TOO much. I do want to backtrack and read book 1 but I do worry about book 1 a bit. I'm hoping that this was just the honeymoon phase of sorts and just filler. We'll see though because I did enjoy the little bit of story and the characters but hopefully with book 1 being longer that we get more plot. 

But yes, this was sweet and fun. It has me excited for book 1 and book 2. I am a LITTLE nervous though because this was jammed pack full of smex scenes to the point when it was getting a little exhausting for me. There is a fine line. Like I said...I hope it was just because this was a novella and Ruby and her boo are still freshly in love. 

The narrator was good. Different voices for all the girls. The guys did seem to be very similar that it was hard to tell the difference. 

In the end, a fun novella for Halloween. Lots of smex though...maybe a bit too much...but I did adore our characters and the story we had was fun. 3 stars from me. 

- #46 for Audiobook challenge

Thursday, October 20

Audiobook Review: The Haunted Heist by Angie Fox

Author: Angie Fox
Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Title: The Haunted Heist
Series: Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries #3
Genre: Paranormal Mystery, Fantasy, Romance, & Urban Fantasy 
Format: Audiobook
Published: March 17th 2016
Where I got It: Audible

Just because she can see the dead doesn’t mean Verity Long wants to spend her days hunting ghosts. Instead, she’s over the moon to land a marketing job at the local bank… until she finds her new boss dead in the vault. Even her ghost friend, Frankie, knows that's no way to start a career.

Relieved to let the police take charge, Verity steps aside, bound and determined to keep her ghost sightings to herself. But when she learns the main suspect in the murder is a very crooked, very dead mobster, Verity knows it's up to her to solve the case.

She teams up with her ghostly gangster buddy Frankie, as well as the irresistible and charming Ellis, as the three of them search haunted mob hideouts, hidden passageways, and historic cemeteries for the facts behind the heist of the century — and a modern-day motive for murder.

Too bad uncovering the truth could very well make Verity the next victim...

Saved the next in the series for Halloween time! 

Verity Long doesn't want to spend her days hunting ghosts. She wants a serious job. She is excited to be landing a marketing job at the local bank...until she finds her new boss dead in the vault. Even her ghost friend knows that is no way to start a new career. She wants to step aside and let the police take charge, but when she learns the main subject in the murder is a very dead mobster...she knows it is up to her to solve the case. 

This mystery certainly got me. I thought I had a suspect or idea in mind. But I was wrong! I was surprised at the ending when all was revealed. I can't put my finger on it...but something about it bothered me.   

I loved learning more about Frankie and his past life. I also loved seeing some of his past friends and fellow crooks.   

Awww it was nice seeing Verity and Ellis had made some progress in their romance. And there was a scene with Ellis and I clapped in glee! Good for him! I won't spoil what/how/why, but he stood up to his monster of a mother and she deserved it.

The narrator is amazing as per normal. I hope she continues the series!

In the end, this was fun. Loved seeing Verity and everyone again. The mystery had a good twist but something about it didn't settle well with me. Other than that I really enjoyed it. 4 stars from me. 

- #45 for Audiobook challenge

Wednesday, October 19

Book Review: Where the Echo Calls by Steve N. Lee

Author: Steve N. Lee
Title: Where the Echo Calls
Series: Books for Dog Lovers
Genre: Fiction
Format: ebook
Pages: 281
Published: October 19th 2022
Where I Got It: My shelf (Given to me by the author/publisher for my honest and unbiased opinion)

Sometimes a dog isn’t just a dog — it’s hope.
Left for dead in the gutter, Rio struggles to his feet and lurches into the shadows for a place to hide. Life has always been brutal, thanks to a monster of an owner, but at least he’d had food, a bed, a place to call home. Now…?

Ben’s life ended when he lost his family. Drink no longer dulls the pain; therapy is a joke; friends have moved on. He’d had everything, yet now…?

But when the broken man meets the broken dog, they discover something neither had ever dreamed could exist… a reason to go on.

In a story as heartwarming as it is heartbreaking, When the Echo Calls explores how hope can be found in the most unexpected of places if only we have the courage to look for it.

Couldn't wait to get started on this one! I have loved the others. In a way this is bittersweet. It is the last doggo story from this author for the time being. 

Rio was left for dead in a gutter by his terrible human. He had been a fighting dog but at least he had a home. He is taken in by the shelter to find a forever home. Will he find this when Ben takes him home? Ben had lost his family and nothing helps. However, when he finds a broken dog he never imagined the friendship as they fix each other. 

I loved, loved, LOVED seeing some old characters make an appearance here. However, this does well as a standalone, but it does add something special to seeing old people and dogs that you previously read about. This truly does show there are ALWAYS two sides to a story. 

This author really knows how to pull at the heartstrings! There is so much sadness for poor Rio and poor Ben. They have been given some terrible things in life and they deserve all the happiness! It was beautiful watching them fix each other and find their way. We had some humor too which is always nice. One scene had me laughing so hard that I had tears. Can't tell you, but it was so unexpected!

Awww Woofy!!!! Loved that furball and his owner.

I will warn the beginning was a little rough seeing poor Rio (Razor his previous name when he was a fighting dog) navigate the streets and then survive some terrible humans. It is important to his journey, though, to fully understand why he is the way he is. It made me cry because it breaks my heart that people are so cruel. I had a rescue growing up and I have one now... and I can't imagine what they both went through before we brought them home. 

That ending was simply perfect. I couldn't ask for a more perfect ending for Ben and Rio. In a was a perfect ending for all the characters from the previous books too. There is always room for another dog tale but this wrapped up the series nicely. I do have plans to re-read one of the past ones (I re-read one a little while ago). These are for sure good re-reads. They are quick and short-ish, but they leave a huge impact.

Overall, I loved this. I loved all the books! They have it all. Humor, joy, sadness, and meaning. It was rough seeing Rio go through what he did before Ben, but it melted my heart seeing him finally find the pack he deserved. These books are great. A part of me wants more, but the ending of this one really ties everything perfectly together. I shall stamp this one with 5 stars. I highly recommend this and the other books. 


Tuesday, October 18

Blodeuedd's Tuesday Review: The American Adventuress by CW Gortner

By: C. W. Gortner

Narrated by: Ell Potter

Length: 12 hrs and 59 mins

Release date: 09-20-22

Publisher: HarperAudio

Historical fiction / to review

I did not really know a lot about Jennie..or anything. I know some of the Dollar Princesses to come, but Jennie was one of the first, and what a life!

Jennie met and fell in love with the 2nd son of the Duke of Marlbourough. Some drama there, she being an American, he a nobleman. But they get each other in the end, have two kids, one being a certain Winston Churchill.

And then lots more. She had lots of affair, the most noted one with the future king of England. She still loved her husband, but noble marriages were strange. She also did a lot of things I could not have imagined. Like sending aid and going to the Boer war. Her marriages though, dang she must have been a very fascinating woman. One of a kind.

I do confess, I googled a lot! I just wanted to know things before  and here at least I knew nothing tragic would happen.

An interesting book about an interesting woman.

First time listening to this narrator. Not the most variation among voices, but as this truly was Jennie's story that did not matter. Everything came from her. It was a good fit for a historical fiction and def something you should listen to

Daughter of famed financier Leonard Jerome, Jennie was born in New York City to wealth—and scandal. When her parents separated for reasons that were quickly hushed up, Jennie and her sisters followed their mother to Paris, where the city became their finishing school. Determined to marry her daughters into the most elite families, Mrs. Jerome draped them in the finest gowns by Worth and introduced them at Queen Victoria’s court.

Jenny quickly caught the eye of Randolph Spencer-Churchill, a man-about-town and aspiring politician whose father, the Duke of Marlborough, was one of Britain’s loftiest peers. But although the Marlboroughs’ Bleinheim Palace was grander than Buckingham Palace, the family was cash-poor, and desperate to marry their sons to well-heeled American heiresses like Jennie and her sister-in-law Consuelo Vanderbilt. Jennie wasn’t prepared to stop at a duke’s second son, though. With Randolph’s tacit approval, she became mistress to the Prince of Wales, a celebrated bon vivant and womanizer. Their friendship, which lasted decades, greatly bolstered Jennie’s social fortunes—and Randolph’s career ambitions.

But with great highs came great lows. Randolph’s life was cut short, and after losing him, Jennie dove into a disastrous marriage to George Cornwallis-West, much to the dismay of her two sons, who were the same age as their new stepfather. But as Winston began his own brilliant political career, it was Jennie who proved his most valuable supporter. And when she cast off her second husband and took on a third in the midst of the Great War, the American adventuress truly came into her own. 

Monday, October 17

Book Review: The Loch by Steve Alten

Author: Steve Alten
Title: The Loch
Series: Loch Series #1
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Horror, SciFi, Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Pages: 541
Published: 2005
Where I Got It: My shelf (Goodwill)

Loch Ness holds secrets, ancient and deadly. Does a monster inhabit its depths, or is it just myth? Why, after thousands of reported sightings and dozens of expeditions, is there still no hard evidence? Marine biologist Zachary Wallace knows, but the shock of his near-drowning as a child on Loch Ness have buried all memories of the incident. Now, a near-death experience suffered while on expedition in the Sargasso Sea has caused these long-forgotten memories to re-surface. Haunted by vivid night terrors, stricken by a sudden fear of the water, Zach finds he can no longer function as a scientist. Unable to cope, his career all but over, he stumbles down a path of self-destruction…until he receives contact from his estranged father…a man he has not seen since his parents’ divorced and he left Scotland as a boy. Angus Wallace, a wily Highlander who never worked an honest day in his life, is on trial for murdering his business partner. Only Zachary can prove his innocence – if he is innocent, but to do so means confronting the nightmare that nearly killed him seventeen years earlier.

This has been sitting on my shelf for quite some time. Just kept forgetting about it. Thanks to the TBR reading challenge I am finally dusting this bad boy off to read it. 

We all know the rumors and myth of Nessie the monster of Loch Ness. There have been thousands of reported sightings and dozens of expeditions...but there is no hard evidence. Marine biologist Zachary Wallace knows, but due to the shock, he suffered as a boy has buried all the memories of what he experienced. Years have passed and a near-death experience during an expedition in the Sargasso Sea has caused these forgotten memories to start bubbling back to the surface. Haunted by vivid night terrors and a sudden fear of the water, Zachary finds he can no longer function as a scientist. He is stumbling down a path of self-destruction...until he hears from his estranged father. His father is on trial for murdering his business partner, but he swears it was the legendary Nessie. Only Zachary will be able to prove his father's innocence but confront the nightmare that nearly killed him. 

Gah....I felt so bad for Zachary. He just wants to be left alone to do his science stuff. He has nearly died twice in nearly the same fashion....I can see why his body was all "NO MORE WATER!". Poor guy. 

I felt like I was on the most inconsistent roller coaster of my life. One minute I was absolutely hooked and then the next minute I was nodding off. The flow was extremely weird. 

The issue was that there were HUGE amounts of info dumping throughout. Some of it was at the beginning when going over the legend of Nessie and the history of Scotland. Yes, very helpful to get into the mindset. However, there were some LONG passages that really seemed could have been trimmed a bit. I'll be honest and I skimmed through these info-dumps. The court scenes were sometimes a huge bore. There were moments I was all "DAAAAAAAAMNNNN!!!" and had to read more. 

The mystery was deep and complicated and I loved it. I literally had no idea what was going to happen to our characters. I was super worried for everyone. The last 100 pages I couldn't put down. I had to finish!

This just needed some cleaning up. Some trimming and maybe quick summaries of some of the info. Just too much for me. 

Overall, this was pretty good. I enjoyed the mystery and the characters. The parts I liked...I loved. However, there were some huge lulls due to info-dumping. There needed to be some trimming in some parts. I'll give this 3 stars. 

- TBR Reading Challenge (#7)

Saturday, October 15

Saturday Movie Night: Hocus Pocus 2 (2022)

This month we decided to review the new 'Hocus Pocus 2'. 

Blodeuedd is in red and I am in purple.

Title:  Hocus Pocus 2
Genre: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Released: 2022
Length: 1 hr 43 mins
Rating: PG

Two young women accidentally bring back the Sanderson Sisters to modern day Salem and must figure out how to stop the child-hungry witches from wreaking havoc on the world.

Click here for the trailer. 


Ok, I will be brutally honest…I am not sure I have seen the first movie. Like maybe? Or have I only seen clips cos it is a popular movie? Or maybe I did watch it when younger? I do not know!

Really? I was addicted to it and watched it too many times to count, but it has been a few years.

I honestly do not know. But I also felt that I was never lost or anything. The movie is still so popular that I knew stuff and could easily be swept away.

Agreed. I do think this stands well as a standalone. Anything you need to know they tell you/show you. 

Exactly, and that is perfect for me. Who might not have seen it. Or if I did it was so freaking long ago! It was never one of those movies who was shown here.

It made me want to rewatch the original. I’m sure there are some things I do not remember. 

I should do that!

One of my favorites. I wonder if the original is as good as I remember. But I did really enjoy this… even if the original is not as good as I remember then at least I have this new one. Haha

I liked this one so I am happy with that one. Just the perfect amount of everything.

Agreed! Perfect for adults and the kiddos. I couldn’t stop laughing but then near the end I had some tears. That ending….oh boy. 

I can’t really complain about anything. I liked the backstory stuff too. I did wonder about that first witch though.

I feel like if they make a third movie we may learn more. I hope so. 

Like where did that witch go? 

I’m sure she was watching….always watching. She seems up to something….the long game. 

Yes I wonder…

So many things they could do in the third movie….if they make one…I also want a movie about those three and their early life as new witches. I think that would be fun!

Yes that could be cool! And they could always use different actors then if it is the early stuff.

Esp those girls! They were perfect!

Omg yes, just perfect :D

Indeed! I even liked the modern teens. They were fun! That footballer and the mayor were a hoot.

I am sure they will make more.

Hope we don’t have to wait another 20 years again hahahahaha. They need to take advantage of the love. 

Ride that wave! Maybe next Halloween.Ohhh, a tv series!

Even better! I would be game for that! There is so much more story to tell. That ending….gah! We need more!

It would be so much fun

Yesss I feel like there is so much backstory on everyone. The mystery witch, our fave witches, and the new ones. :D

They are totally missing their chance if they do not make a tv series about the origins of them

For real! Plus I could use a really funny and fun witch tale(s)! PG version of Salem hahaha

Same. Some humour and fun. I would like that.

And more songs! I love the singing!

Aye I could enjoy it :) Let’s hope for that too.

One can dream and hope! Anything else?

Nope, I liked it. Maybe my kid can watch it one day too :) Just a few more years.

Yesss! Maybe that is when you watch movie 1! ;D 

One day!

I need to watch it again soon too. 

The end?

The end

Friday, October 14

Book Review: Without Mercy by Ava Strong

Author: Ava Strong
Title: Without Mercy
Series: Dakota Steele FBI Suspense Thrillers #1
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Format: ebook
Pages: 233
Published: June 14th 2022
Where I Got It: My shelf (Amazon)

MMA champ-turned-FBI Special Agent and BAU specialist Dakota Steele is as tough as they come—and as brilliant, too, able to crack serial killers that no one else can. But this new case is unlike anything she’s seen, and Dakota, weighed down by the demons of her own past, may have just reached her breaking point.

Dakota’s last case broke her, driving her to quit the FBI and return to the hard streets of her South Dakota hometown. She is weighed down by a lifetime of fighting, and by the demons of her dark past: her missing sister who vanished when Dakota was a teenager. Her estranged father, who she still can’t bring herself to speak to.

The killer she let get away.

Dakota has hit her low point.

Only the most desperate case—and the tough love of her partner—can lure her back.

Victims are disappearing along empty stretches of desert highway, with no witnesses. The landscape is desolate, the people tough and dangerous. And the police are stumped.

Time is running out before the next victim is taken, and it’s up to Dakota to connect the dots.

Can Dakota stop him in time?

Or will her own demons take her for good?

Randomly stumbled upon this on Amazon. I've been itching for a good thriller and mystery for the spooky season! 

Here we follow Dakota. MMA champ-turned-FBI Special Agent and BAU specialist. Her last case broke her and she had to quit. The killer got away. This last case brought back the demons of her lifetime of fighting and her sister who vanished when she was a teen. Only the most desperate case and the tough love of her partner will bring her back. People are disappearing along the empty stretches of a desert highway. No witnesses and everyone is stumped. Time is running out and it is up to Dakota and her partner to connect the dots.

Dakota has a lot of issues. That last case certainly broke her. I can see why. It would've probably broken the toughest cookie. They couldn't find the killer. But I liked her a lot and I adored her partner. 

I hope the next book has more character-building. I feel like we got to know Dakota a little bit but I want more. Also, I want to learn more about Marcus. I feel like there is a lot under the surface for both of them. I hope we get to meet more characters along the way! 

The mystery was good and I had no idea who and how.

I enjoyed this and that ending left me wanting more. The last couple of pages had me all "WHAT?!" There is something at play here and it may shake all of the FBI to its core. Can't say what, but I feel there is something coming. Now I need to read on. 

This was pretty short but it worked. That ending and the characters have me wanting to read the next one! The mystery was good! I had zero ideas on the who and how. I couldn't stop reading because I had to know! In the end, I recommend this if you like mysteries and thrillers. I'll give this 4 stars. 

Thursday, October 13

Audiobook Review: The Package by K Bromberg

Author: K. Bromberg
Narrator: Teddy Hamilton & Maxine Mitchell
Title: The Package
Genre: Novella, Short Story, Contemporary Romance 
Format: Audiobook
Published: November 30th 2019
Where I got It: Audible

Christmas week can’t get any worse for Jules Jilliland.

Dumped by her boyfriend, rear-ended on the freeway, and fired from her job, she finds herself stuck in an elevator with a handsome stranger.

When their packages are accidentally swapped, will it end up being a misfortunate accident that suddenly brightens her holidays?

Seen this and had to check it out. It is an Xmas story during spooky season, but oh well. ;) 

Christmas week has not been kind to Jules. She was dumped by her ex, her ex stole her rent money, she then was rear-ended on the freeway, and then fired from her job. And low and behold...the elevator breaks and she is stuck on it with a stranger who obviously is a higher-up. After a long conversation their packages are accidentally swapped...will it be another thing to add to the misfortune or is this going to brighten her holidays?

Poor Jules. I felt so bad for her!!!! She needed something to go her way. 

This was everything sweet and cute. This would be a cute Xmas movie for Hallmark...they would need to add more content of course, but this has some nice bones for a really cute romance. An unlikely couple finding love being stuck on an elevator. 

The ending made me roll my eyes. Like I get the gesture he did...but meh. What happens if they break up? Eeeee....ya. I won't spoil but still. 

The narrators are both good. I have heard them in the past so that made me happy hearing them again. I wish we had more in his POV. 

In the end, this was very sweet. Perfect for the upcoming holidays or if you need something a little sweet now. The ending...I was a little meh about, but I could be a cranky cow. I'll give this 3 stars. 

- #44 for Audiobook challenge

Wednesday, October 12

Audiobook Review: Mrs Wickham by Sarah Page

Author: Sarah Page
Narrator: Jessie Buckley & Johnny Flynn
Title: Mrs Wickham
Genre: Historical Fiction, Novella, Short Story, Retelling 
Format: Audiobook
Published: September 8, 2022
Where I got It: Audible

Imagine if you made one little mistake when you were young and were punished for it for the rest of your life. Well, that’s what happened to Lydia (yes, that Lydia, the youngest Bennet sister from Pride and Prejudice), and she’s here to set the record straight. Hold on to your teacups and get ready for sophisticated (and a little bit naughty) hot takes and witty banter that’ll make you laugh—and think.

We meet Lydia just as she is denounced by her family, exiled miles from home, and married to the rogue George Wickham, who seems to love all women...except his own wife. She must learn to summon great bravery to carve out a place for herself in the society that has brutally rejected her.

Lydia isn’t the traditional Austen heroine, and this isn’t a traditional, polite period drama. Lydia is a badass. A trailblazer. She’s fierce and fiercely funny. And she might inhabit the Regency period, but she’s fighting the same battle many of us are today—having to defend the decisions she’s made and the person she chooses to love, to shut out the 'trolls' and gossips, to hold her head high in a world that will judge her for any mistake she makes.

Randomly stumbled upon this in Audible. Seemed a perfect listen for the mood I was in! Please I can't remember the last time I read/listened to a P&P variation.

Here we follow Lydia. She made a bad decision and it is being held against her. She is denounced by her family and exiled miles from home. She realizes George is a rogue and never truly loved her. He spends all his money on women and booze. Instead of just accepting this fate, she picks herself up and carves out a place for herself among society. 

Go, Lydia! Yayy! 

I will admit I found her annoying and bratty and selfish....but I never hated her. I felt pity for her because she ended up with a Wickham. That is not a prize anyone should want. It was nice to see her get a story to explain herself and learn and grow. She certainly did learn and grow A LOT here. You will find yourself, like me, cheering for her to succeed and find some sort of happiness. 

I honestly loved all this. I do go back and forth on how I feel about the ending. It makes sense that people can change and people can come back from terrible, horrible decisions. BUUUUUT it is not easy. I won't spoil anything....but yes, I have mixed feelings about the ending. 

Oooooo the narration team-up was fantastic. We have two here and they worked well together. Perfection. There was even sound effects and etc and that worked well too. 

In the end, I highly enjoyed this. If you like PP I recommend this for sure. It is inspiring, fun, and will make you look at Lydia (and even George) in a different light. 4 stars from me. 

- #43 for Audiobook challenge