Thursday, November 30

Audiobook Review: Crazy Stupid Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

Author: Lyssa Kay Adams
Narrator: Andrew Eiden
Title: Crazy Stupid Bromance
Series: Bromance Book Club #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit, Humor, & Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Published:  October 27, 2020
Where I got It: My shelf (Audible)

Alexis Carlisle and her cat cafĂ©, ToeBeans, have shot to fame after she came forward as a victim of a celebrity chef’s sexual harassment. When a new customer approaches to confide in her, the last thing Alexis expects is for the woman to claim they’re sisters. Unsure what to do, Alexis turns to the only man she trusts—her best friend, Noah Logan.

Computer genius Noah left his rebellious teenage hacker past behind to become a computer security expert. Now he only uses his old skills for the right cause. But Noah’s got a secret: He’s madly in love with Alexis. When she asks for his help, he wonders if the timing will ever be right to confess his crush.

Noah’s pals in The Bromance Book Club are more than willing to share their beloved “manuals” to help him go from bud to boyfriend. But he must decide if telling the truth is worth risking the best friendship he’s ever had.

Yayy! With this book I have completed the Reading Romance Challenge! YAYYYYY! *throws confetti* 

Here we follow Alexis and Noah. Alexis and her cat cafe, ToeBeans, have shot to fame after she came forward as a victim of a celebrity chef. She was sexually harassed along with so many other women who were just trying to make something of themselves. Alexis has taken this in stride and has become a beacon of moving forward. So many women have come to her to help move forward with their lives. When a new customer approaches to confide in her, Alexis assumes it is another victim, but what this woman claims that she and Alexis are sisters who share a father. Alexis never knew her father! Of course, she turns to her best friend, Noah, for comfort. Noah is a computer genius. He once was an angry teen who loved hacking, but he left that behind and has become a successful computer security expert. Both Noah and Alexis want more, but they don't want to ruin their friendship. Enter in the Bromance Book Club to save the day. 

I will advise at least reading book 2 before diving into this bad boy. In a perfect world, read the first book too. 

Honestly? I'm really, really liking this series. I think this book really cemented that fact. To be honest........I think this is my favorite of the series so far. I have a couple left to get through soooo we shall see. 

Awwwwwwwwwww I loved Alexis (which I knew that from the previous book) and I liked Noah a lot once I got to know him. They are both gems and deserve all the love and all the happiness life can give them!!!!

I loved seeing them be friends and then eventually more. It wasn't an easy change, but once they were open and honest and TALKED they fell into the love mode really easy. Of course, there will be some drama that will test their new love. Past trauma certainly can destroy things. I'm glad that, with their friends and family, they were able to move forward. 

The author did a wonderful job balancing the romance element with all the real feelings and issues and STILL has a nice sprinkle of humor on top of it all. It felt....real. Was everything magically fixed? No. Is everything perfect? No. But love can conquer all. Not just romantic love between Alexis and Noah, but between their families and friends. BEAUtiFUL.

The narrator was amazing. I'm glad he's doing the rest of the series!!!! He is a gem and his voices are in my head. I can't imagine anyone else doing these people.

All-in-all, this was the best of the series so far. I can't WAIT to get started on the next one! The next one is FINALLY Vlad the Russian. Eeek. I'll stamp this with 5 stars. 

- #53 for Audiobook challenge
- #25 for Romance Reading Challenge - Animal on the cover (yayy all done)

Wednesday, November 29

Movie Review: Napoleon (2023)

Title: Napoleon
Length: 2h 49m
Released: 2023
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Action/Adventure, Biography
Rating: R
Where I Got It: Theater 

An epic that details the checkered rise and fall of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and his relentless journey to power through the prism of his addictive, volatile relationship with his wife, Josephine.

The moment I first saw the trailer I KNEW I had to see this in theaters. There was no other option for me. The cast....the director....the subject matter? Yes. 

This is about the infamous Napoleon Bonaparte. We get to witness his rise and fall politically and with Josephine. While he conquered the world....Josephine conquered his every waking thought. 

The reviews of this are SO polarized. Which is fitting for Napoleon. In his life and even today he is either loved or hated. Makes sense the film would settle in the hearts of people differently. 

Personally....I ended up LOVING this movie. It was really good. I will admit that it was a slow, slow burn...........but it oddly fit. I loved watching the tension rise and rise until everything shattered at the Battle of Waterloo. Damn, that was a scene. 

The cast was brilliant and I loved watching them. I honestly couldn't take my eyes off Napoleon and Josephine. They were captivating in their portrayals and if they don't win SOMETHING I would be utterly shocked.

Lots and lots of people are mad since there were some liberties taken like the first scene with Marie Antoinette. Many claim Napoleon was not there. we know 100% for sure? Who knows. And yes I could spot a couple of historical inaccuracies but you have to take Hollywood historicals with a grain of salt. The creators will change things and for lack of a better phrase...butter up the screen. Now there is a fine, fine line to be careful of and I found that they did a good job on that line. Historically accurate enough for History Nerds like me to enjoy it, but still have it be entertaining enough for people like my husband who is meh about history. *chefs kiss* Very nice. 

But yesssssss I loved it. It was good. I wouldn't mind a re-watch one day. I think it's going on the Apple Streaming Service (boo), so I may have to buy it on DVD one day. 

5 stars for sure. I for sure recommend this BUT be warned that there is a lot of blood. It is a war film at the end of the day.

Tuesday, November 28

Book Review: The Indian Lawyer by James Welch

Author: James Welch
Title: The Indian Lawyer
Genre: Historical Fiction, Westerns, Mystery
Format: paperback
Pages: 350
Published: October 1, 1990
Where I Got It: My shelf (Amazon)

Sylvester Yellow Calf is a former reservation basketball star, a promising young lawyer, and a possible congressional candidate. But when a parolee ensnares him in a blackmail scheme, he'll have to decide just who he is, and what he wants.

I've enjoyed others by this author and I have a goal to eventually read all his books. He is good. After buying this a while just sat on my shelf for like 5 years. Whoops. Thank goodness for the TBR challenge ;)

Here we have Sylvester Yellow Calf. He was a former reservation basketball star who became a promising young lawyer and a possible congressional candidate. He really has made his way in the world. However, when a parolee ensnares him in a blackmail scheme, he'll have a challenge in front of him. He'll have to decide who he is and what he wants in life. 

I'll admit....I struggled a hair. It took longer than I thought it would to finish. This was a pretty slow narrative. Things are happening, don't get me wrong so it's not boring, but just slow. Some politics so that didn't help. And then we get to see a lot of flashbacks from a lot of characters. Lots going on but slow in building. 

Even though I struggled with the pace, I did enjoy the actual story. I liked Sylvester and I even ended up liking Patti Ann. Not sure where or when that happened, but yes, I liked her. This author really does have a way of showing the complexities of humans. It's never black and white. You get to understand our hero, of course, but our "baddies". You begin to understand all of them and feel for them all. Of course, you are rooting for the hero, but you get why our baddies are "bad". 

Soooo. The ending? I def had some questions. I had to look it up and I guess I'm not alone. It was for sure an ambiguous ending which is fine, but man.....I do love a good epilogue and finality ;) Kuddos to Sly for the decisions he made. He was a good egg. 

Overall, I did like this one. Not my favorite of this author's, but it was good. It really made me want to continue my journey into all of his works. Someday! But yes, this had excellent characters and an interesting story. Some slowness and the ending could be seen as vague but it did make me think and have questions. I'll give this 3 stars.  

- #9 TBR Pile Reading

Monday, November 27

Blodeuedd's Monday Review: Hooked On You by Kate Meader

By: Kate Meader

Narrated by: Pippa Jayne

Series: Chicago Rebels, Book 4

Length: 9 hrs and 41 mins

Release date: 11-21-23

Publisher: Tantor Audio

Contemporary romance /to review

The third sister finds love in this one. But she has a harder time. She has gotten closer with her half sister, but she is still in her soul an outsider that does not know much about hockey. She is a cancer survivor, and she is still finding her way.

Bren St.James has had a rough time. A divorce. Trying to overcome his alcoholism. And doing his best for his team.

They have this constant banter and annoy each other. But then Bren needs help and Violet steps up to help him care for his two kids while he is doing his best to win the Cup and make the Rebels great.

They get closer, but there is some drama in the background. Like her having had this plan of selling her part of the team and leaving. And him hiding some secrets of how bad his drinking problem was.

But hey it is a romance. They get hot and heavy and find their HEA.

Good story. Truly a book about these two.

Nice narration. Both characters have accents that sets them apart from the rest. You always know where you have them

Violet Vasquez never met her biological father, so learning he left his beloved hockey franchise — the Chicago Rebels — to her is, well, unexpected. Flat broke and close to homeless, Violet is determined to make the most of this sudden opportunity. Except dear old dad set conditions that require she takes part in actually running the team with the half-sisters she barely knows. Working with these two strangers and overseeing a band of hockey-playing lugs is not on her agenda… until she lays eyes on the Rebels captain and knows she has to have him.

Bren St. James has been labeled a lot of things: the Puck Prince, Lord of the Ice, Hell’s Highlander... but it’s the latest tag that’s making headlines: washed-up alcoholic has-been. This season, getting his life back on track and winning the Cup are his only goals. With no time for relationships — except the fractured ones he needs to rebuild with his beautiful daughters — he’s finding it increasingly hard to ignore sexy, all-up-in-his-beard Violet Vasquez. And when he finds himself in need of a nanny just as the playoffs are starting, he’s faced with a temptation he could so easily get hooked on.

For two lost souls, there’s more on the line than just making the best of a bad situation… there might also be a shot at the biggest prize of all: love.

Friday, November 24

Audiobook Review: Pecan Pies and Dead Guys by Angie Fox

Author: Angie Fox 
Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Title: Pecan Pies and Dead Guys
Series: Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries #7
Genre: Mystery, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Format: Audiobook
Published:  September 18, 2018
Where I got It: My shelf (Audible)

Sometimes Verity Long would like to forget that she lives with the ghost of a 1920s gangster. But the reluctant housemates must once again work together when a dead detective blackmails Frankie into helping him solve a Great Gatsby-era cold case. Before she can say “bathtub gin,” Verity is dragged straight into a raging, otherworldly house party. Worse, every guest is hiding something.

Meanwhile, Ellis Wydell, Verity’s living, breathing boyfriend needs Verity’s help with a police case of his own. After a dead body is discovered near the pecan orchard, Verity gives her insights, thinking her job is done. But when mysterious pecan pies start arriving at her house, she wonders who might be thanking her… or stalking her.

Between hard-living ghosts and sugar-laden desserts, Verity has her work cut out for her. But will she uncover the secrets behind the pecan pies and dead guys? Or has she stumbled upon a recipe for disaster?

Here we go! Book 7! 

Next on the adventures of Verity and Frankie......the dead detective is now blackmailing them to help him solve a Great Gatsby-era cold case. The detective can't move on until this is solved. Verity and Frankie reluctantly agree and find themselves crashing a raging and otherworldly house party. It seems like even in death a lot of ghosts have their secrets. On the living side, there is a fresh murder at the pecan orchard that Ellis, Verity's boyfriend, needs help solving. After giving her insights, she arrives home to a mysterious pecan pie. Now she has three mysteries to solve....will she survive them?

Damn. I was hoping this would be set during Fall time like Turkey Day. That cover and pecan pie...oh well. I'll take what I can get ;) 

Now, I will say this doesn't do well as a standalone. I would say you need to read the last three before getting to this one. Lots of things tie into the past...especially book 6. 

There were a lot of mysteries afoot!!! Verity has her hands full that is for sure. And Frankie too but you know he only helps with what will benefit him. Gosh, do I love these two!!!!

Ugh, that detective is a big ol' A-hole. He is rude and sexist (I get it he's from the 20s and is all "Meeeeeeh women ain't smart enough" but ugh). A man of his time and he seemed to be better by the end. 

Our two baddies are certainly baddies indeed. We have a dead one and a live one and they seem like a match made in H-e-double L. 

I enjoyed this buuuuuut it raised some consistency questions. I get the rules of Ghost-land are loosey-goosey and the author can do what she wants in her world. But there are two questions that had me scratching my head. 1) I thought ghosts look the way that they are when they die? Soooo shouldn't two of them who died old BE old? Not like in their 30s-40s? Or did I mishear how they look? Did they die in their 60s and just look good? IDK. I was so confused. This isn't a huge issue and it could be ME not catching it right, but still. Mmm. 2) The ghost prison? Really? I don't understand how that all works. Maybe we'll see more in the future. 

The narrator is flawless in her role as per normal. I wouldn't want to listen to anyone else for our gang. 

Overall, I liked this. Fun mysteries. Fun characters. Yayy. However, I did have a couple moments that I was scratching my head. Could be me just being an idiot, but....mmmm...ANYWAY. Onto the next! I love this series so much. I'll give this one a 3. 

- #52 for Audiobook challenge

Wednesday, November 22

Book Review: Brambles by Intisar Khanani

Author: Intisar Khanani
Title: Brambles
Series: Dauntless Path #0.5
Genre: Short Story, Fantasy, YA, Retellings
Format: ebook
Pages: 42
Published: December 7, 2020
Where I Got It: My shelf (Amazon)

In the kingdom of Adania, everyone knows what Princess Alyrra did to earn the court's contempt, her mother's disdain, and her brother's hatred.

She betrayed her own.

Yet, the truth hides another story, one of honor and honesty, of a princess gambling her own life for another's. It's a tale of courage and consequences, and a choice that can never be undone.

A short story prequel to her multi-starred fantasy, Thorn, Intisar Khanani's "Brambles" gives Alyrra's account of what really happened all those years ago, and how a few critical days turned her life into a daily fight for survival.

I picked this up because 1) freeeeebieeesss and 2) I liked book 1 a lot so why not read the prequel? 

Before the start of book 1, we get to see the TRUTH of what really happened all those years ago and how a few critical days turned Alyrra's into a daily fight for survival. 

I'll be frank........I barely remember book 1. I feel like it has been SO long so any memories I have of what I thought are no longer there. I will need to read my old review. In a way, it was nice to visit the story in a fresh new light.

TBH I think you should read this prequel AFTER you read book 1. It made much more entertaining. 

Now I want to re-read book 1 maybe...or just dive into book 2. 

Nice and short. Def worth it if you liked book 1. 

I'll give this 4 stars. 

Tuesday, November 21

Book Review: A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews

Author: Mimi Matthews
Title: A Holiday by Gaslight
Genre: Historical Romance, Novella
Format: ebook
Pages: 174
Published: November 13, 2018
Where I Got It: My shelf (Amazon)

A Dutiful Daughter

Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run of the mill London merchant. He's grim and silent. A man of little emotion--or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she's ready to put an end to things. After all, even a dutiful daughter has her limits.

A Taciturn Tradesman

Ned has come a long way since his days working as a draper's assistant. He's wealthy, ambitious, and eager to take a wife. But the courtship advice issued in The Gentlemen's Book of Etiquette isn't all it's cracked up to be. Though he's followed it to the letter, Miss Appersett still doesn't wish to see him again. Frustrated and hurt, he's more than happy to oblige her.

A Christmas Courtship

Severing ties with her former beau isn't as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And then there's Charles Darwin, Prince Albert, and that dratted gaslight. What's a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to the annual Christmas party at Appersett House and give him one more chance to win her? But this time there'll be no false formality. This time they'll get to know each other for who they really are.

Yayy for freebies! I got this after Xmas last year and I figured I'd save it. 

This is a novella where we follow Sophie and Ned. Sophie is willing to marry pretty much anyone to help out her family, but she wants to at least like the guy. She wants to feel at LEAST a friendship. Love can always come later. However, she is done with the emotionless Ned. However, severing ties with her former beau isn't going to plan. She is forced to invite him to one last Christmas party and give him one last chance to win her over. 

This is oddly a second chances story and I'm here for it. I love that they both want to marry someone, but they have issues. He actually cares for her deeply but thanks to 'The Gentlemen's Book of Etiquette' he could lose her. No one is truly at fault for the original break up. They both had equal blame and equal innocence. I loved that. 

This was a very sweet Xmas romance that gets a little deep. Not TOO deep, but it worked to add some complexity and volume to the story. I loved watching them actually fall in love and find happiness. 

Now...I did have an issue with a lot of the side characters, especially Sophie's father. [SPOILER ALERT] I hated that they had no real karma hit them. They got HEAs too and they never grew up or changed for the better. Mmm. I'm all for Xmas miracles and people see the errors of their ways and THEN they get a HEA....but not so here. I'm just glad Sophie and Ned can leave them all behind and live in happiness if they want to. [END OF SPOILER]

All-in-all this was quick and short with enough depth to feel something. Minor issues with the side characters, but it was just me being grumpy and bitter. Sophie and Ned are adorable. If you need something quick for the upcoming holiday, I suggest this one! 4 stars from me. 

Monday, November 20

Blodeuedd's Monday Review: Born to Be Badger by Shelly Laurenston

Book 5 in the Honey Badger Chronicles series

Author Shelly Laurenston

Narrated by Charlotte Kane

Publication date Nov 28, 2023 by Tantor Audio

Running time 11 hrs

Paranormal romance /to review

There is one way to describe this book: Crazy.

This is not a series you jump into. Even I had to keep my wits around me when it comes to this one because the action is non stop. The craziness never calms down. There are so many freaking badgers around.

You really have to read them to get them. It is a shifter world. Honey badgers are bad ass mofos. They never back down, they never die. And they all seem to be insane

Tock gets involved in some craziness together with her friends. She meets a hot tiger named Shay (but, yes that takes a long time to evolve into something.) Timewise no, but book length yes. So no real romance before the end when they get hot and heavy.

Danger, fights, food and lots of shifters and you have this book. It is a crazy ride. And at the end, well the next one will be intense

Good audio. She kept up the crazy pace in a good way

Emily "Tock" Meyerson-Jackson is on a mission to rid the world of shifters trafficking humans for hunting and cash. And now that she's narrowed down her suspects to a brutal coalition of male lions, nothing will get between this honey badger and her prey—not even a dog-loving Tiger with absolutely no time management skills. Doesn't matter that Shay Malone is ferociously adorable. With a war brewing between cat families, Tock doesn't have time to lounge around with a football-playing tiger shifter. But when she realizes the coalition is also responsible for the death of Shay's father, she's forced to partner up with the flirtatious feline . . .

Revenge is most definitely on the menu for Shay and his tiger shifter brothers. But when it comes to Shay's alluring partner in crime-solving, so is seduction. Tock might be a bad ass of a honey badger, but she's awfully cute when she's flashing her fangs, which she's pretty much doing all the time these days. Good thing revenge is a dish best served hot. Because when it comes to Tock, Shay knows just how to turn up the heat . . .

Thursday, November 16

Is This Becoming a Tradition? Audiobook Review: You Can Thank Me Later

Author: Kelly Harms 
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang
Title: You Can Thank Me Later
Genre: Short Story, Novella, Fiction, Romance
Format: Audiobook
Published:  October 31st 2019
Where I got It: My shelf (Audible)

Summary: When the Dickenson clan sits down for Thanksgiving dinner in 2016, it is the last holiday when their tight-knit family will ever be the same. Oldest brother Pete and his wife are expecting their first child. Youngest sibling Sophie is too busy running her restaurant, The Little Plum, to bother with any kind of social life. And middle child Charlie's happy, uncomplicated life as a Midwestern science professor is upended when his wife Annette is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Knowing this will be her last Thanksgiving, Annette asks Sophie to look after Charlie after she's gone. Which would be a lot easier if Charlie didn't show up with an insufferable new girlfriend at the next holiday meal.

Okay, okay. I can't get enough of this story. This is my 4th time listening to this audio. It is perfect for Turkey Day!!

I'll keep this short since ya'lls know how much I adore this story.

This has it all. Feels, laughs, and meaning. 

I could rant and rave about how much I love this story. I would kill for a movie of it and/or a sequel! WE NEED ANOTHER ONE!

5 stars. 

- #51 for Audiobook challenge

Wednesday, November 15

Audiobook Review: Murder on the Sugarland Express by Angie Fox

Author: Angie Fox
Tavia Gilbert
Murder on the Sugarland Express
Series: Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries #6
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal, Fantasy, UF, Romance
Published: 25, 2017
Where I Got It: My shelf (Audible)

Ghost hunter Verity Long is overdue for a little R&R (rest and romance) with her boyfriend, Ellis, and a vintage train trip through the Tennessee mountains seems like just the ticket. The Sugarland Express carries history and nostalgia in every compartment, and Verity is determined to enjoy it—without ghostly interference. But the ghosts have other plans…

On a dark, desolate night nearly a century ago, the train was stranded in the mountains, and a young woman was found stabbed to death in her locked compartment. The murder was never solved, and a ghostly Belgian detective is still pursuing the case from the grave.

To Verity’s dismay, all of the ghostly suspects are back. And when history repeats itself and a new murder mirrors the old, it’s up to Verity and her friends to discover which of the passengers—dead or alive—could be behind the murders before the killer strikes again.

Oooo it has been so long since I read the last one. Aka beginning of the year. I'm glad to be diving back in!

We continue our journey with Verity and her ghostly companion, Frankie. Verity needs a break and have some 1/1 time with her boyfriend, Ellis. However....that won't be the case. Not only is Ellis' family there, but there are also multiple mysteries afoot. Can't a girl catch a break?

Poor Verity. She needs a break with her booboo but duty calls! So many many murders on the Earthly plane and Ghostly plane. Lots to do, lots to do. 

This was fun as per normal. This series is a hoot. You can't help but love the characters, especially Verity. She is a gem and Frankie is hilarious. 

Honestly.....I liked that they were stuck on the train with Ellis' brother and monster MOM. They got to talk some stuff out and be forced to interact. That scene near the end between Verity and the brother (aka her ex) was nice. Maybe this will lead to some healing. They may not LIKE each other but hopefully, they can bury the hatchet. 

Oof that ending was chaotic and crazy. The ending got a LITTLE too chaotic for a moment I was confused. I had to back up a few minutes and hyper-focus. But it was one heck of an ending. You def need to pay attention.

The narrator was fabulous as normal. 

Overall, this was fun. Lots of moving parts. The ending gets chaotic and the mystery was good. Can't wait for the next! 4 stars. 

- #50 for Audiobook challenge

Tuesday, November 14

Book Review: The Duke Deal by Valerie Bowman

Author: Valerie Bowman
Title: The Duke Deal
Series: The Whitmorelands #1
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: ebook
Pages: 161
Published: November 1, 2022
Where I Got It: My shelf (Bookbub)

She wants a favor. He has ONE condition.

The honeymoon is over…

When Veronica said “I do” to Sebastian Sinclair, Duke of Edgefield, she thought all her dreams had come true. He was dashing and doting, and she absolutely adored him—until he betrayed her trust, shattering their marriage, and her heart, into a million tiny bits. She hasn’t seen her husband in the two years since, and she’d just as soon make it twenty. But when she learns that her beloved grandfather’s dying wish is for her and Sebastian to attend the family’s Christmastide celebration, she swallows her pride and asks him a favor: to pretend they’re the happy couple they once were.

But the passion still simmers.

Sebastian is shocked to find his lovely duchess on his doorstep, but he’s ready and willing to play the part of a devoted husband for the Christmas season…if Veronica will grant him a favor in return. All he asks is that she share his bed every night. All night. And maybe even give him the heir he needs.

Could their love be the real deal?

Veronica must be mad to agree—especially since Sebastian seems intent on using every weapon in his arsenal to charm and seduce her. She knows it’s just pretend and yet, she can’t help but wonder if the falling snow and Christmas cheer will work a little magic. Maybe she and Sebastian will end up with more than either of them bargained for…

When I saw this on Bookbub as a freebie for me I had no choice but to pick it up. Love this author and dukes? Yes, please!!!!

Veronica and Sebastian married two years ago. It was a love match and they were happy...until they weren't. She caught Sebastian in a lie and with the trust gone how could she ever trust him again? Two years go by and they have not seen each other. Now they are forced together to celebrate the holidays with Veronica's ailing grandfather. 

Oooooooo you stubborn fools!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just wanted to shake Veronica and even Sebastian. They were too stubborn to stay and fight. They both had some trauma from their childhood and refused to listen to each other or explain. TALK YOU FOOLS TALK!

I love Justin, Veronica's brother, who finally has enough and decides to help. Bless him. I adore him.

I loved, loved the ending. Made me chuckle. 

My only issue was the internal monologue copy-pasting. We get it. We truly get why you have issues with the other and themselves. Sighs. 

All-in-all this was a fun second chances romance. It was nice when they finally woke up and found each other again. Some copy-pasting, but worth it to watch them work through it. I do want to read more esp if Justin gets to fall in love. He's a gem. 3 stars from me. 

- #24 for Romance Reading Challenge - Xmas setting

Monday, November 13

Blodeuedd's Monday Review: Gray Mountain by John Grisham

Format: 384 pages, Hardcover

Published: October 23, 2014 by Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

Thriller fiction /Library

It has been ages since I read a Grisham novel. I always like them, all that law talk makes it thrilling.

And here is even more stuff I have no idea about, Big coal. Damn dirty business.

Samantha looses her job, but to keep her hanging on her job tells her to work for a non profit for a year. Which takes her to coal country and a  legal aid clinic.

Omg, yes it is fiction, but pretty sure he knows his stuff. Like coal truck accidents. That was horrific. How things goes wrong when they blow things up. When dams break. Black lungs. Cancer clusters. And how Big Coal screws everyone over, and has everyone in their pocket.

Top mining? Was that the word? Blowing up mountain tops and going down. Nature effed over.

Samantha comes in to help and gets dragged in to big coal. And honestly how it ends, it was not that uplifting. The fight continues. But as long as they need coal then coal is there

Interesting story

One week ago, Samantha Kofer was a third-year associate at New York City's largest law firm. Now she is an unpaid intern in a legal aid clinic deep in small-town Appalachia. When Lehman Brothers collapsed, she lost her job, her security, her future. As she confronts real clients with real problems, she finds herself a world away from her past life of corporate fat cats and fatter bonuses. This is coal country. Meth country. The law is different here. 

Friday, November 10

Book Review: Embrace the Lace by Shannon Macleod

Author: Shannon Macleod
Title: Embrace the Lace
Genre: SciFi, Fantasy, Historical Romance
Format: ebook
Pages: 321
Published: March 21, 2023
Where I Got It: My shelf (Netgalley)

Widowed Andrew MacIver has problems and responsibilities aplenty. At twenty and five, he is already chieftain of his large clan. His castle is in a state of disrepair, his cook is clueless and to make matters worse, his uncle appears dead set on taking his job. He doesn’t have time to admit he is lonely, but he does need to remarry – and quickly, for the clan expects their laird to have a wife and heirs. He needs the perfect noble lady, decorous, competent, and obedient. The upcoming clan gathering seems the perfect opportunity to renew allegiances, find a suitable bride and get married, in that order. Well…that was the plan, anyway. But then the fae got involved.

Loveable geek Paisley Evangeline Darling – Van to her friends – wants one last adventure before going off to complete her master’s degree in mechanical engineering like her hero Tony Stark. On the very first night at the SCA renaissance festival, she is snatched kicking and screaming back to 17th century Scotland, nearly drowning in the process. Andrew, her handsome rescuer, is stressed out and intent on helping her find her way home, but she is having way too much fun to leave. Who better than a smart, free spirited and independent 21st century lass to bring a little love and laughter back into the exasperated laird’s dull life? After all, what could possibly go wrong?

Caution: Contains meddlesome faeries, questionable inventions, culinary miracles, one ferocious dragon, a heroine with zero regard for convention, and a reluctant hero with his hands full.

I saw this and knew I had to check it out. Who doesn't love a good time-traveling romance set in Scotland?????

Andrew has a lot on his plate and doesn't have time for anything. He needs a new wife to help him create an heir for his clan. With the upcoming clan gathering...this will be the perfect opportunity to renew allegiances and find a suitable bride. However, he needs a break. When he takes his horse out for a ride, he will soon discover his world is about to change forever thanks to a nosy Fae. Van wants an adventure before going off to complete her master's degree in mechanical engineering so she decides to go to the SCA Renaissance Festival which is a complete and totally immersive experience. Little does she know...she is about to have an adventure into the real deal. 

I feel terrible for admitting this....but I was so annoyed with Van at the beginning that I wanted to scream. She was unrelenting and never stopped talking. She was very sweet and smart and cute and etc...but shut up Van. She did calm down a litttttttle bit later on, but she was a lot to handle. I loved she loved the nerdy stuff and was a whiz with the engineering and building....but sweet lord did I want to shake her. 

Andrew was sweet and grumpy. Just how I like 'em ;) 

This does have some humor and can't take this story too seriously. It was a lot of fun. Van is very sweet in her own way (even though she never, ever stops talking) and brightens up the castle. She brought joy back and had people laughing again. The catapult scene made me warm up to her a bit. 

Some plot devices were very, very flimsy and too the ending with Van's parents. Mmmm. Take it with a grain of salt. This was very light. I found that this was the Hallmark of Time Travel romances. Nothing too serious and everything was easily solved.

However, I did have fun with this. It was sweet and quick and had humor. The love was there and it was sweet. Van needed to calm down, but she was an interesting character and maybe it was just a me thing. If you are looking for something light...check this out. I'll give it 3 stars. 

Thursday, November 9

Audiobook Review: Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

Author: Lyssa Kay Adams
Andrew Eiden
Undercover Bromance
Series: Bromance Book Club #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit
Published: March 10, 2020
Where I Got It: Borrowed from Library

Braden Mack thinks reading romance novels makes him an expert in love, but he’ll soon discover that real life is better than fiction. 

Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a pastry chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef.

Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club.

Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assists Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart... even though she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned.

I read book 1 a while back and it was okay. I remember having some issues, but I simply loved the premise so much that I decided to do the next book. This time I found book 2 as an audiobook at the library!

Here we now follow Liv and Braden. Liv is Thea's salty sister who doesn't trust anyone for anything. She has a quick wit and doesn't believe in love. Liv had landed her dream job as a pastry chef at Nashville's hottest restaurant. However, after an incident with a cupcake (thanks a lot Braden) and then catching her boss harassing a young hostess, she is fired. In order to bring down her ex-boss, she will need to team up with Braden. Braden is a rich entrepreneur who is more than happy to bring down that scumbag. He'll need to call in reinforcement....the Bromance Book Club. 

Okay....I hated Liv in book 1. She was just an unrelenting ball of hate. I get their father was a piece of shit, but damn was she overly bitter. She is still bitter and a live wire, but I did warm up to her after seeing her POV and seeing that her hate and wit were a cover. Her dawn of realization at the end made me cheer!!! Yayyyy!

Mack is a good egg. Sure did he suck at being real and actually committing? Yes, but he has trauma too. However, once he fell in love he FELL. You could see how much he cared for Liv and how much Liv cared for him. So much trauma between the two of them that it took FOREVER for them to realize they needed each other. I def see some therapy in the future. Maybe not marriage counseling, but they both need to talk to someone. They both had such a shitty upbringing. 

I really enjoyed this. I loved seeing all of our side characters again and meeting some new friends. Awwwww Liv's landlady was adorable. I loved that side romance. CUTE! And the friendship between Vlad and the chicken made me "aww". I am happy to report that our couple from the first book seems to be living their HEA. I had my doubts, but they seemed to have worked out their issues and were communicating and being happy. Yayy.  

The narrator was fantastic. Even for the girl parts, I was stunned by how perfect his lady voices were. Some were a little similar to each other, but he did well. Guys doing girl voices tend to be harder, but I am content. I hope he does book 3 ;) 

All-in-all, I really enjoyed this one. I had my worries because Liv was unbearable in book 1, but getting inside her head and seeing her slowly warm up to love and trust made me happy. Onto the next! 4 stars from me. 

- #49 for Audiobook challenge